It’s strange to say this about a game on December 17th, but the Ottawa Senators win against the Detroit Red Wings yesterday was easily their biggest of the season. Detroit isn’t in a playoff spot, but they are one of the teams that Ottawa needs to leapfrog if they want to get back into the race. The Senators' 6-3 win was their fourth in a row, and they reached “NHL .500” at 14-14-2 (but not a .500 winning percentage), which is the first time they are at that mark since they were 4-4-0 in the early going.
They’ve gone a remarkable 8-2-1 over their last 11 games, which has salvaged a season that looked lost just a month ago. A win this afternoon would give them five in a row and it would be incredibly impressive considering it’s the second half of a back-to-back on the road against a Minnesota Wild team that is firmly in a playoff spot with 36 points in 30 games.
The lines will be what they went with yesterday:
#Sens vs. Wings— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) December 17, 2022
Tkachuk Brassard Giroux
DeBrincat Pinto Batherson
Gambrell Chartier Kelly
Motte Kastelic Watson
I would assume that Anton Forsberg is in net instead of Cam Talbot, although that has not been confirmed.
- Scott Sabourin was recalled today, although he won’t be playing. Austin Watson was only fined instead of suspended for his interference on Dylan Larkin, and Sabourin was insurance for a suspension. Considering it was Sabourin called up, I feel like they’re expecting a fight with Ryan Reaves today.
- Ottawa’s powerplay is up to fourth in the league at a rate of 28.8%. They scored three times yesterday and scored twice in each of their previous three wins as well—9/21 or 42.9%. They’ll need it to be successful today in a difficult matchup.
- Alex DeBrincat has been exactly what the Senators have needed lately. He’s up to 30 points in 30 games, and he even set a cool record for the team last game:
All good things come to an end, but what a run it was for Alex DeBrincat.— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) December 17, 2022
✅ Factor on 8 straight @Senators goals
✅ Assist on 6 straight OTT goals
More #NHLStats: https://t.co/0bKl6Qlffw pic.twitter.com/WfA0711QDC
- The last time the Senators won five in a row was in March 2017 when they actually won six in a row total. Getting a win today would instill a lot of confidence that this team has a lot of resiliency. Even if they lose, they’ve done an excellent job to get back into the mix.
- The Wild are also hot coming into today’s game as they have won four in a row and are 8-2-0 in their last ten games. They had a slow start at 7-8-2, but have really picked things up over the last month.
- Our old pal Filip Gustavsson has been fantastic for the Wild with a .921 SV% in 11 games. That doesn’t surprise me that much, as he’s always been incredibly streaky. He benefits from good team defense though, so who knows if that SV% will last. Either way, he’s expected to start today, and I really don’t like that considering Ottawa’s eerily strange record against former Senators goalies:
- Kirill Kaprizov will have to be neutralized tonight, as the Russian phenom has 39 points in 30 games, good for eighth in the NHL.
- It’s an early start today at 2:00 EST on TSN5 and RDS.
|Goals||Brady Tkachuk/Claude Giroux||13||Kirill Kaprizov||18|
|Assists||Brady Tkachuk||22||Kirill Kaprizov/Mats Zuccarello||21|
|Points||Brady Tkachuk||35||Kirill Kaprizov||39|
|Shots||Brady Tkachuk||131||Kirill Kaprizov||124|
|Time on Ice/GP||Thomas Chabot||25:52||Jonas Brodin||22:!1|
|Penalty Kill %||79.7||12th||79.6||13th|
|Corsi % (5v5 SVA)||52.3||6th||50.70||15th|
|xGF % (5v5 SVA)||52.21||11th||51.93||12th|