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Sens Week Ahead: Oct 25 - 31

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Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Flames @ Senators

Wednesday, October 28th, 7:30pm
Sportsnet One

Prev game : @Islanders, Monday, October 26th
Next game : Canadiens, Friday, October 30th

Hot : Johnny Gaudreau - 9 points, 14 shots in 7 games
Cold : 15/23 skaters with 1 point or less...
Injured : TJ Brodie (week-to-week), Lance Bouma (indefinitely), Michael Ferland (undisclosed)

The Flames come into this week with a 2-5-0 record, a 47% 5-on-5 Corsi, and tied for the second worst 5-on-5 goals against numbers in the league (22 GA). All of that kind of spells "not good," and many predicted that they won't be able to keep up their performance from last season. The injury to TJ Brodie, a bonafide top-pair D, doesn't help with that, but really it's been the painstakingly poor performance from Dougie Hamilton and Kris Russell that has cost them, as they have a sub-30% GF% when they're on the ice at even strength. The duo has been facing tough competition and have an on-ice sv% which is ridiculously low, all of this to say that they may recover soon. The Flames surely need it. The Flames other problem lies in net, with both Jonas Hiller (4GP) and Karri Ramo (3GP) struggling to the tone of save percentages BELOW .882. We'll have to wait to see who gets paired up vs. the Isles as Ottawa will likely face the other goaltender, but this is a game the Senators should win, even with mangled depth themselves. As a fun note, they may end up playing against former prospect Derek Grant, who signed with Calgary in the offseason and was called-up after 3 goals in 3 AHL games.

Senators @ Red Wings

Friday, October 30th, 7:30pm
TSN5

Prev game : Hurricanes, Tuesday, October 27th
Next game : @Senators, Saturday, October 31st

Hot : Dylan Larkin - 7 points, 21 shots in 8 games
Cold : Mike Green - 1 point, 6 shots in 7 games
Injured : Pavel Datsyuk (indefinitely), Brad Richards (indefinitely), Johan Franzen (day-to-day), Mike Green (day-to-day), Kyle Quincey (day-to-day)

The Senators finally get a chance to play the Blashill-led Red Wings on Friday night as part of a home-and-home series. The folks to be wary of are the kids and Henrik Zetterberg; i.e. the Wings top-six. Teemu Pulkkinen joins the "matured in the AHL" group of Nyquist and Tatar from seasons past, although the biggest surprise is the emergence of Dylan Larkin as a strong offensive threat. Masking any defensive deficiencies (there are few anyways) with Henrik Zetterberg on the same line is a blessing for the Wings, as it's usually the top-six that wins them games. In net, the Senators are set to face both Jimmy Howard and former 67s goalie Petr Mrazek, though I'm unsure who will play at home. Both are in the middle of an old-fashioned goalie duel for ice-time right now; 4 games played each, with save percentages of .924 and .925.

Red Wings @ Senators

Saturday, October 31st, 7pm
City

Prev game : Senators, Friday, October 30th
Next game : Lightning, Tuesday, November 3rd

Hot : Henrik Zetterberg - 11 points, 13 shots in 8 games
Cold : Drew Miller - 1 point, 5 shots in 8 games
Injured :Pavel Datsyuk (indefinitely), Brad Richards (indefinitely), Johan Franzen (day-to-day), Mike Green (day-to-day), Kyle Quincey (day-to-day)

How can the Senators beat the Wings while facing their third back-to-back of the month? Well, for starters, this isn't a definite schedule loss as other back-to-backs are made out to be, mainly because the Wings are going through the exact same situation. Unlike other Red Wings teams though, this team seems to be struggling with their depth, both on forward and on defense. Their strong goaltending and top-six scoring has led to a positive goal differential of +1 (14 GF, 13GA) at 5-on-5 play, but it's also really masked a team that's putting up the second-worst 5-on-5 CF% numbers in the league right now (~44%). The Senators, who are hovering around 50% now after two strong nights, will have the chance to test Howard and Mrazek a lot. They have to be careful not to get into a track meet, though.

(Statistics from Natural Stat TrickBehind the Net; injury updates from Rotoworld)