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Game 67 Preview + Open Thread: Ottawa Senators @ Detroit Red Wings

Enter the Great Dane

NHL: SEP 29 Preseason - Maple Leafs at Senators Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

When the Ottawa Senators take on the Detroit Red Wings tonight, the potential goalie of the future will be standing in front of the Ottawa goal. In his morning availability, DJ Smith confirmed that Mads Søgaard, considered by many to be the Sens’ goalie prospect with the biggest potential upside, would make his NHL debut tonight in Detroit. In talking about the young prospect, Smith alluded to the first thing you might notice about Søgaard: he’s really, really big. The Great Dane, as some are calling him, is also more than just his size; he’s positionally sound, and moves extremely well for a goalie his size. And as we’ve seen in recent years: you can never have too many goalie prospects.

The Red Wings, having faded from play-off contention after a hot start to the year, find themselves in a similar situation to Ottawa: playing out the string while trying to develop their future core. For Detroit, Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond have fans dreaming of a new golden era in Red Wings hockey. It would not be a surprise to anyone if Seider walks away with this year’s Calder trophy. As if the Atlantic Division wasn’t already tough enough.

One thing we can likely count on tonight is a lot of chances: the Sens and Wings rank 23rd and 32nd respectively in goals against. If the score stays low, it will likely be at least in part because of strong goalie play. Welcome to the NHL, Søgaard!

Here’s how we expect Smith to deploy his line-up based on the practice lines from yesterday:

Game Notes:

  • In some ways it feels like it’s been a long time coming, but it’s still a bit of a surprise to see Chris Tierney as a healthy scratch. Tierney hasn’t been able to generate enough offense to justify a scoring role, and he doesn’t play the type of checking, grinding style that Smith prefers for his fourth line. With his deal up at season’s end, and no sign that Ottawa are even entertaining the notion of re-signing him, I expect a number of healthy scratches are in his future as the campaign winds down.
  • Much was made of the fact that Erik Brännström was going to be given the opportunity to show what he could do with Thomas Chabot out for the rest of the season and so far, so good: Brännström’s pairing with Artem Zub has been absolutely mashing the opposition in the six games since Chabot went down. When the two are on the ice, the Sens are sporting a 61.66 CF% and 57.81 xGF% — albeit in soft-ish deployment. Smith does still remain cautious about deploying Brännström in high leverage defensive situations: he played scare minutes at the end of the Florida Panthers game as the Sens attempted to hold on to the lead. Still, it is impossible to argue with the overall results. It says here that if this continues for the rest of the season that the Sens should seriously investigate making the duo their second pair to start next season.
  • After a strangely unproductive season last year, Dylan Larkin is back to ripping it up for the Wings this season. His 62 points in 62 games lead the team and his speed remains as big a weapon as ever. Ottawa will need to be careful defending him through the neutral zone, in particular.

Head-to-Head:

All statistics are courtesy of NHL.com and Natural Stat Trick:

Player Stats

Game 75 Ottawa Senators Seattle Kraken
Game 75 Ottawa Senators Seattle Kraken
Category Player # Player #
Goals Josh Norris 33 Jared McCann 25
Assists Tim Stützle 32 Yanni Gourde 26
Points Brady Tkachuk 59 Jared McCann, Yanni Gourde (tied) 43
Shots Brady Tkachuk 261 Jared McCann 174
Time on Ice/GP Thomas Chabot (inj.) 26:23 Adam Larsson 22:10

Team Stats

Game 75 Ottawa Senators Seattle Kraken
Game 75 Ottawa Senators Seattle Kraken
Category # Rank # Rank
Goals/GP 2.71 26th 2.57 29th
Goals Against/GP 3.23 23rd 3.47 24th
Shots/GP 30.3 20th 28.8 31st
Shots Against/GP 33.2 25th 29.1 5th
Powerplay % 19.7 21st 14.3 29th
Penalty Kill % 80.5 13th 75.1 26th
Corsi % (5v5 SVA) 47.91 21st 49.03 19th
xGF % (5v5 SVA) 47.10 24th 47.34 23rd