Red Wings host Senators; Alfredsson faces old team
Wednesday, 10.23.2013 / 9:10 AMSENATORS (3-3-2) at RED WINGS (6-3-1)
TV: TSN, TVA, FS-D
This is the first of four meetings between the Ottawa Senators and Detroit Red Wings. The New Atlantic Division rivals didn't face each other last season when Detroit was still in the Western Conference. In fact, their most recent matchup was the 2011-12 season opener, when the Red Wings raced to a 5-0 lead behind a goal and an assist from Cory Emmerton before holding off the Senators for a 5-3 win on Oct. 7, 2011.
Daniel Alfredsson, the former Ottawa captain who played the first 17 seasons and 1,178 games of his career there, faces his old team for the first time. In years past this might've been the only time the Senators and Red Wings met; now that they're division rivals, it's just a dress rehearsal. Alfredsson will see them on three more occasions, including a return to Ottawa on Dec. 1.
"The city of Ottawa is going to miss him and as teammates of his for so long we miss him too, but he turned the page. We've got to turn the page too," Senators forward Chris Neil said. "You don't dwell on it, you just go out, focus on the task at hand and that's to beat the Detroit Red Wings."
It's right back on the road for Ottawa, which is tied for the second-fewest home games played at two (the New York Rangers don't play their home opener until Oct. 28). The Senators began the season on a six-game road trip, won their first game at Canadian Tire Centre last Thursday and then went for two in a row Saturday afternoon against the struggling Edmonton Oilers.
The Senators were averaging more than 40 shots against coming into the game, most in the NHL, so it was a good sign holding the Oilers to just 21. However, two of them beat Robin Lehner and a third found the empty net in a 3-1 loss. Neil scored his first of the season for Ottawa.
"I thought it was a solid 60 minutes by our team, probably the best full game that we've played to this point this season," coach Paul MacLean said in the Ottawa Citizen.
There were zeroes all across the stat sheet Monday night when Detroit hosted the West-leading San Jose Sharks at Joe Louis Arena. Jimmy Howard held the visitors off the board through 60 minutes of regulation and five minutes of overtime, but so did his opposition across the way, Antti Niemi.
Both goalies were credited with shutouts, but only one was going to come away with the 1-0 decision. That turned out to be the Sharks and Niemi after Logan Couture scored on Howard in the second round of the shootout.
"I thought we did a good job on their top guys. We didn't give them a lot of room and space. Another thing that was a positive was we didn't give up a lot of odd-man rushes," Howard said. "That's been an Achilles' heel of late for us. We did a great job of keeping the third man high in the offensive zone, making them come 200 feet. We didn't turn pucks over. It's a good sign."
Craig Anderson, the expected starter for the Senators on Wednesday, has stopped 74 of 79 shots (.937 save percentage) in winning his past two starts. … In his second start back from a minor hand injury, Howard recorded his 17th career shutout for the Red Wings.
Detroit could get defenseman Niklas Kronwall (concussion) back after a two-game absence. Forward Patrick Eaves (knee/ankle) could make his season debut Saturday against the New York Rangers, but forward Darren Helm (groin) was going for tests and won't be available. Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (shoulder) is expected to miss 2-3 weeks. ... The Senators report no injuries.