DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings will be expecting more from the line of center Riley Sheahan between Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar when they play the Ottawa Senators on Friday (7:30 p.m. ET; RDSI, TSN5, FS-D+) at Joe Louis Arena.
The Red Wings have lost five of their last six games (1-4-1).
Before practice Thursday, Detroit coach Jeff Blashill spoke to Sheahan, Nyquist and Tatar and made expectations clear.
"They're going to get lots of opportunity and now they have to be difference-makers in the game," Blashill said. "It's going to fall equally on their shoulders as it does on other lines. But in the role they're going to play they're going to have to be real impactful players."
Detroit needs them to take pressure off the first line of Henrik Zetterberg between Justin Abdelkader and Dylan Larkin.
In nine games, Sheahan has one goal and one assist but is a Red Wings-worst minus-4. Nyquist has four goals and six points and Tatar two goals and five points.
"I think they can be real good together," Blashill said. "In fact, as I spoke to them yesterday, I believe they either have been or are going to be elite players in this League. But they have to prove it. When they're together they have to prove it on their own merit and not on a line with Zetterberg or a line with [Pavel] Datsyuk. So they're going to have to step up and prove they're elite, elite players in this League."
The Senators players said they have a great amount of respect for the Red Wings' skill level, particularly their forwards.
"They're a team that skates well and has a lot of dynamic players," said Senators goalie Andrew Hammond, who will get the start Friday. "They're going to get their chances. But it's about us limiting their chances."
It will be Hammond's second game of the season. He last played in a 4-3 shootout loss against the Nashville Predators on Oct. 22.
"It's good to get back in there and get another chance to play and do the job," Hammond said.
The game is the first of a back-to-back, home-and-home series that concludes Saturday at the Canadian Tire Centre.
Here are the projected lineups:
Shane Prince - Kyle Turris - Mark Stone
Matt Puempel - Mika Zibanejad - Bobby Ryan
Milan Michalek - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Alex Chiasson
Max McCormick - Zack Smith - Chris Neil
Marc Methot - Erik Karlsson
Patrick Wiercioch - Cody Ceci
Jared Cowen - Mark Borowiecki
Injured: Clarke MacArthur (concussion), Mike Hoffman (lower body), Curtis Lazar (concussion)
Scratched: Chris Wideman
Justin Abdelkader - Henrik Zetterberg - Dylan Larkin
Tomas Tatar - Riley Sheahan - Gustav Nyquist
Tomas Jurco - Darren Helm - Teemu Pulkkinen
Drew Miller - Luke Glendening - Joakim Andersson
Niklas Kronwall - Jonathan Ericsson
Danny DeKeyser - Alexey Marchenko
Brendan Smith - Jakub Kindl
Injured: Pavel Datsyuk (ankle), Johan Franzen (concussion-like symptoms) Mike Green (upper body), Brad Richards (back), Kyle Quincey (concussion protocol)
Scratched: Landon Ferraro
Status update: Hoffman could return Saturday. Senators coach Dave Cameron said it depended on how Hoffman feels after skating Friday.
Who's hot: Turris had one goal and one assist in a 5-4 shootout win against the Calgary Flames Wednesday … Nyquist had a three-game point streak snapped in a 3-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday. He had two goals and one assist during his streak.