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.
MacArthur - Turris - Ryan
Michalek - Spezza - Conacher
Grant - Zibanejad - Condra
Greening - Smith - Neil
Méthot - Karlsson
Cowen - Corvo
Phillips - Gryba
Zetterberg - Datsyuk - Abdelkader
Bertuzzi - Franzen - Alfredsson (*sniffle*)
Tatar - Weiss - Cleary
Miller - Andersson - Tootoo
Kronwall - Smith
DeKeyser - Quincey
Lashoff - Kindl
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.
|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|
|Corsi Close %||51.9%||12th||50.5%||13th|
|Fenwick Close %||48.9%||16th||51.0%||13th|