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Sens Week Ahead: Dec 27 to Jan 2

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Another light week with only two games

Johan Franzen has a moment with Cory Schneider
Johan Franzen has a moment with Cory Schneider
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Red Wings @ Senators

Game 35, Saturday, December 27th, 7:00pm
CBC
Previous game
Sabres, Tuesday, December 23rd
Next game
@Bruins, Monday, December 29th
Hot
Henrik Zetterberg - 4P (2G, 2A) in last 3 GP
Cold
Niklas Kronwall - 0P in last 4 GP

The Red Wings come out of the holiday break firmly in the playoffs. They're only two points out of the wild card position, but also only one point out of the division lead.

Goaltending is a big issue for the Wings right now. Jimmy Howard and Jonas Gustavsson are both on IR, leaving the workload on the former Ottawa 67 Petr Mrazek. He's done reasonably well in his seven games for Detroit so far this season, but he's also had a grand total of 11 NHL games before this season.  Starter duties are a heavy load on the shoulders of a 22 year old with almost no NHL experience.

Given their possession numbers, the Red Wings are probably underachieving in the standings.  They sit second overall in 5 on 5 Corsi and sixth in Fenwick.  The power play has had success with 24.1%, good enough for fourth overall.  The penalty kill is stronger, running at second overall and 87.9%.  This should be a team in the hunt for the league lead, not sitting third in the division.

Kronwall isn't just cold, he's also listed as day to day.

Sabres @ Senators

Game 36, Monday, December 29th, 7:30pm
TSN5
Previous game
Islanders, Saturday, December 27th
Next game
Lightning, Wednesday, December 31st
Hot
Zemgus Girgensons - All the votes
Cold
Jhonas Enroth - 0.891 SV% in last 5 GP

From a team that should be fighting for first in the league to a team that has no business being ranked as high as 27th.

Since the last time Ottawa faced the Sabres, they've returned to their expected ways with four losses in four games.  Their possession still stinks, with their second worst 5 on 5 showing of the year in that stretch - though also with their second best.  They're still under two goals a game on average, and over three against per game.

The power play is historically terrible.  I'm not sure if it's actually record setting, but 9.2% is the worst as far back as 97-98 (as far as the NHL.com Team Summary page goes), with only two other teams ever finishing the season under 10%.  The penalty kill isn't quite as terrible, but it's still pretty bad.  76.2% puts them at 26th overall.

The Buffalo injury list is a long one. Matt Hackett, Cody McCormick, Torrey Mitchell, Tyson Strachan and Marcus Foligno are all on IR, with Matt Moulson, Tyler Myers and Brian Gionta are all listed as day-to-day.