Game 9 preview: Ottawa Senators @ Detroit Red Wings

Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo

A preview of the game between the Ottawa Senators and Detroit Red Wings on 23 October 2013.

The Senators will play their first game against Daniel Alfredsson when they visit the Detroit Red Wings tonight. After feeling the Senators misled him, the long time Senators captain left for Detroit and has start the season well with 9 points in 10 games. That's not the only story line for tonight. Mika Zibanejad has returned from exile while Patrick Wiercioch will be a healthy scratch. Wiercioch has struggled badly (though he is fifth in points), but it is too bad the club owner's finances were making them depend on both Wiercioch and Jared Cowen succeeding in a second pairing role. They still might very well succeed with time, but right now it has been brutal to watch.

Here are the Senators lines and pairings from the Senators website.

Ottawa

MacArthur - Turris - Ryan
Michalek - Spezza - Conacher
Grant - Zibanejad - Condra
Greening - Smith - Neil

Méthot - Karlsson
Cowen - Corvo
Phillips - Gryba

Anderson (starter)
Lehner

Detroit

Zetterberg - Datsyuk - Abdelkader
Bertuzzi - Franzen - Alfredsson (*sniffle*)
Tatar - Weiss - Cleary
Miller - Andersson - Tootoo

Kronwall - Smith
DeKeyser - Quincey
Lashoff - Kindl

Howard (starter)
Gustavsson

Some talking points for tonight:

  • I love Daniel Alfredsson. I hate Eugene Melnyk.
  • Mika Zibanejad will play his first game of the season and probably wishes he could have brought along his AHL linemates. Still, his presence should help make the third line a lot better than it has been so far this season.
  • The defence is looking very, very thin tonight. Hopefully the team can stay out of penalty trouble and Erik Karlsson can play around 32-33 minutes against most of Detroit's top six.
  • Speaking of the club's penalty problems, I came across this yesterday. Chris Phillips has played 42:08 shorthanded this year or 5:16 per game. The 42:08 is more than the total time of four NHL clubs (Bruins, Rangers, Blackhawks and Penguins). A total of nine teams have been shorthanded for less than 5:16 per game (Bruins, Rangers, Blackhawks, Penguins, Blue Jackets, Sharks, Islanders, Flames and Devils).
  • The Senators have been shorthanded for 8:40 per game, which is the most in the NHL as expected. The Senators have been on the power play for 5:00 a game which is fifth last behind St. Louis, Washington, Detroit and Vancouver.
  • Bobby Ryan and Kyle Turris continue to be awesome together. The Senators have just under 75% of the 5-on-5 shot attempts with the two on the ice together for 45 minutes. Contrast that with 47% of the shot attempts with Jason Spezza and Bobby Ryan together. Almost everyone seems to do better without Spezza than with Spezza so far.
  • This is a pretty brutal stretch of opponents coming up for Ottawa. The combined record of the next four opponents are 27-6-4. Obviously we hope for the best but a 1-3-0 or a 1-2-1 run wouldn't be very shocking.
  • Did I mention I am excited to see a line with Mika Zibanejad and Erik Condra. It is quite refreshing to finally have a third line that won't get killed. Or at least one that we won't expect to get killed every night.
  • The Senators are going to need to score a few goals to be able to keep up tonight. Thankfully they have the talent to do so. Let's hope the bounces start going in for top line as they have been dominant in every other way.

Here are some stats leaders for the two teams tonight.

Category Ottawa Detroit
Player # Player #
Goals Jason Spezza 5 Henrik Zetterberg 6
Assists Kyle Turris 5 Daniel Alfredsson 8
Points Jason Spezza 8 Henrik Zetterberg 11
Shots Bobby Ryan 23 Henrik Zetterberg 43
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 27:46 Jonathan Ericsson (injured) 22:09

Category Ottawa Detroit
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.62 17th 2.40 21st
Goals Against 2.88 19th 2.30 8th
Corsi Close % 51.9% 12th 50.5% 13th
Fenwick Close % 48.9% 16th 51.0% 13th
Shots For 31.5 10th 30.2 17th
Shots Against 39.4 30th 32.1 21st
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