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Alfredsson, Red Wings set to visit Senators

by Sean McCullen

RED WINGS (27-20-12) at SENATORS (26-22-11)


Last 10: Detroit 6-2-2; Ottawa 5-3-2

Season series: This is the final game between the Ottawa Senators and Detroit Red Wings. The road team has won each of the first three. The Red Wings won the most-recent game 4-2 on Dec. 1.

Big story: This could be Daniel Alfredsson's last regular-season game in Ottawa, but the longtime Senators captain left open the possibility he'll return for a 19th NHL season when he spoke with the media Wednesday, according to The Ottawa Sun.

"I'm going to wait until the end of the year and re-evaluate, especially how the body feels," Alfredsson said after the Red Wings' morning skate prior to their game against the Montreal Canadiens. "I had a couple of minor injuries where I missed some time, but if I feel I'm playing at a level where I'm not struggling too much, I still think it's fun, I'm contributing, I'll definitely consider playing another year, there's no question."

Alfredsson spent the first 17 seasons of his career in Ottawa, where he had 426 goals and 682 assists in 1,178 games. The 41-year-old has 14 goals and 22 assists in 47 games in his first season with Detroit.

Team Scope:

Red Wings: Detroit returned from the break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics with a 2-1 overtime win against the Canadiens on Wednesday. Gustav Nyquist scored the game-winner with 27.3 seconds remaining.

Johan Franzen returned from a concussion and earned assists on both Detroit goals in his first game since Jan. 26.

Franzen and linemates Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi will have to carry much of the offensive load for Detroit with captain Henrik Zetterberg likely out for the rest of the season following back surgery. Bertuzzi's first-period goal was his first since Dec. 10; he had been a healthy scratch for the prior eight games.

"It's well documented that Mule hasn't played in a long time, Pav has been injured, and then Bert hasn't played in a while," coach Mike Babcock said after the game. "So that line right there, as good as players as they are, hasn't got a lot of tempo in their game as of yet, but they'll get it."

Senators: Ottawa was 2-2-1 in five games in February before the Olympic break. The Senators, along with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Washington Capitals, are three points behind the Red Wings for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Robin Lehner will get the start in goal against Detroit after starter Craig Anderson returned home to Florida to be with his wife, who is expecting the couple's second child. The team recalled Andrew Hammond from Binghamton of the American Hockey League to back up Lehner.

The Senators will start a four-game road trip at the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday. They’ll also play the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets on the trip.

"You can't (lose) too much in the first five games. Those are really important," Lehner said, according to The Ottawa Sun. "It's hard when you come to the end of the season and every game is live or die. We've got to set ourselves up and try to do as well as possible."

Who's hot: Nyquist has six goals in the past six games. Alfredsson has four points (two goals) in the past five games. … Senators forward Milan Michalek has three goals in the past three games. Forward Jason Spezza has six points (five assists) in the past five games.

Injury report: Detroit forward Henrik Zetterberg (back) is out. Forward Stephen Weiss (groin) and defenseman Jakub Kindl (knee) are on injured reserve. … Ottawa forward Clarke MacArthur (foot) and defenseman Chris Phillips (lower body) are day-to-day. Forward Mark Stone (arm) is on IR.

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