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Game 38 Preview: Ottawa Senators @ Detroit Red Wings

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Hoping to start the new year on a good note.

NHL: APR 04 Red Wings at Senators Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Two of the bottom teams in the Eastern Conference go head-to-head tonight, as the Senators (12-17-8) will try to regain their mojo against the Detroit Red Wings (15-16-7). Coming off a disheartening 5-0 loss to Boston on Saturday, the Sens will look to start the new year on a good note.

The Red Wings, meanwhile, are on a short little streak, winning their previous two games on home ice against the Rangers (3-2 shootout) and Penguins (4-1). Tonight’s winning team will take the lead in the season series, currently tied at one games apiece (Detroit’s 2-1 shootout win in October, Ottawa’s 3-1 win in November).

The Sens have made one roster change since last game, returning Nick Paul to Belleville to make room for a returning Gabriel Dumont. A couple more players may be sent down in the coming weeks, as both Mark Borowiecki and Zack Smith appear to be getting closer to full health.

Fredrik Claesson also returns from his two-game suspension, replacing Ben Harpur in the lineup.

Craig Anderson will get the start tonight, after serving backup duties to Mike Condon for the last two games. It’s been a not-so-graceful fall for Andy, going from top five in save percentage last season to now sitting in the bottom five.

Here are the expected line combos:

Hoffman - Duchene - Ryan
Dzingel - Brassard - Stone
Pyatt - Pageau - Chlapik
Dumont - Thompson - Burrows

Oduya - Karlsson
Phaneuf - Ceci
Claesson - Chabot

Anderson (starter)
Condon

Here are some notes for tonight:

  • An interesting decision coming from the Sens’ bench, as assistant coaches Marc Crawford and Martin Raymond have switched duties with the power play and penalty kill assignments. With neither having much success at their previous assignment (Crawford with the PK, Raymond on the PP), it’s questionable as to how much of an improvement this might be, if at all.
  • Meanwhile, trade rumours are flying left and right around the Sens. Pageau, Brassard, Hoffman, Karlsson... you name it.
  • All of this is happening just as Hoffman is approaching some milestones — 300 games (needs three more), 100 goals (needs six more) and 200 points (needs two more).
  • Bobby Ryan is also three points away from hitting 200 in a Sens uniform.
  • At 37 years old, Henrik Zetterberg is still playing at a very high level. He’s been on a roll recently with one goal and eight assists in his last seven games.
  • Noted goal-scorer Mike Hoffman hasn’t scored in thirteen games. Dzingel, Pyatt, Claesson, Oduya, Burrows, Phaneuf, Harpur and Dumont have also gone 10+ games without a goal, some for way longer. Way too many players are on goal scoring droughts for this team to be successful.

Here are some stats, from NHL.com and Natural Stat Trick:

Team Stats

Category Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins
Category Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins
-- Value Rank Value Rank
Goals/GP 2.68 25th 3.25 6th
Goals against/GP 3.44 30th 2.56 3rd
Shots/GP 30.7 24th 32.8 11th
Shots against/GP 33.0 25th 29.3 2nd
Powerplay % 16.7 26th 23.5 4th
Penalty Kill % 76.2 27th 83.3 4th
Corsi (5v5, Score & Venue Adjusted) 46.32 29th 53.97 2nd
Fenwick (5v5, SVA) 46.94 27th 54.01 1st

Player Stats

Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins
Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins
-- Player # Player #
Goals Matt Duchene 27 Brad Marchand 34
Assists Erik Karlsson (out) 53 Brad Marchand 51
Points Karlsson/Stone (both out) 62 Brad Marchand 85
Shots Mike Hoffman 253 David Pastrnak 236
TOI/GP Erik Karlsson (out) 26:44 Zdeno Chara 22:53