Genghis Khan. Vlad the Impaler. Napoleon Bonaparte.
These are some of history's greatest monsters. This afternoon, the Ottawa Senators face down a great evil and bring light to the darkness.
All jokes aside, this early season match-up with the Detroit Red Wings has a lot more spice than your typical Saturday matinee in mid-October. DeBrincat's return to Ottawa will garner most of the headlines, but both teams are off to hot starts and are looking like they are maybe ready to take the next step towards play-off contention. The crowd will be raucous and ready to go. What a beautiful day for some Ottawa Senators Hockey.
-The aforementioned DeBrincat is off a sizzling start with eight points in his first four games with the Detroit Red Wings. His partnership with Dylan Larkin has clicked right from the start, and the Sens will need to focus a lot of their defensive energies on shutting down the Wings' top unit. Expect that trio to see a lot of Jake Sanderson.
-Speaking of Sanderson, his partner, Artem Zub, will miss today's game. The Sens sent Zack MacEwen to the AHL and recalled Jacob Bernard-Docker to fill in. We haven't had much indication about what the pairings will look like, but I expect there will be a fair amount of shuffling.
-Josh Norris' triumphant return to the line-up was the stuff of dreams on Wednesday nights. Norris' line with Dominiki Kubalik and Drake Batherson was particularly effective, and, of course, he notched a power play goal. If the Sens can have two other lines that are creating enough offense such that the top unit can stay together, that would go a long way towards improving on last year's feeble 5v5 output.
-Besides the abundant goal-scoring, one thing that's really helped the Sens in the early going has been the strong play of their goalies. Anton Forsberg, in particular, has looked great – especially considering he is coming off a major injury to both knees (!)
It's very, very, very early in the year, but this kind of feels like a statement game doesn't it?
Where to watch/listen: Puck drop is 1pm ET. You can watch on TSN5 or RDS, or listen along on TSN1200.
This is just a guess from me since we haven't had a game day skate, but I'd expect the Sens to line up like this:
Joseph - Greig - Tarasenko
Kubalik - Norris - Batherson
Kelly - Chartier - Kastelic
Chabot - Chychrun
Sanderson - Hamonic
Brännström - Bernard-Docker