It is finally here! The long, long wait is finally over and our beloved Ottawa Senators return to action tonight. As far as season openers go, opening on the road in Detroit is one of the tougher ways to start.
Tonight's roster, courtesy of Ian Mendes, is as follows:
Milan Michalek - Jason Spezza - Nikita Filatov
Colin Greening - Mika Zibanejad - Daniel Alfredsson
Nick Foligno - Stéphane Da Costa - Chris Neil
Erik Condra - Zack Smith - Bobby Butler
Filip Kuba - Erik Karlsson
Jared Cowen - Sergei Gonchar
Chris Phillips - Brian Lee
Craig Anderson (starter)
Here are my talking points for tonight:
- New faces: Only Alfredsson, Foligno, Gonchar, Karlsson, Lee, Michalek, Neil, Phillips and Smith played in the season opener against Buffalo last year. So there you have it, out of a twenty man roster, there are eleven changes from last year. Some were just missing from injury (Spezza), but there are players playing tonight we didn't even know existed at this point last year (Zibanejad and Da Costa) or didn't imagine playing in the NHL (Greening and Condra). How will this new group blend?
- Potential Sens Heroes: Craig Anderson, Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson. They are the three best players on the Senators: the starting goaltender, the best forward and the best defencemen. If the Senators are to be successful this year, these three players will have to be very good.
- Young stars: While the Senators have a lot of new faces, it will be most interesting to see how Jared Cowen, Mika Zibanejad and Nikita Filatov perform against a full NHL roster in a meaningful game. Cowen is likely playing either against Pavel Datsyuk or Henrik Zetterberg. That can't be easy for a rookie defenceman. Zibanejad and Filatov are also going to be in for a big test.
- Last meeting: Johan Franzen incredibly scored five goals the last time the two clubs met. The Senators blew 1-0 and 3-2 leads, and eventually lost 7-5 on the night.
The Senators and Red Wings are compared by the numbers after the jump.
As there are no 2011-2012 stats to use yet, here is how the team compared last season. Green rows are where the Senators have the edge.