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Red Wings' Larkin game-time decision vs. Senators

Ottawa trying again for a third straight win

by Chris Stevenson / Correspondent

RED WINGS (29-20-9) at SENATORS (27-26-6) 

TV: 7 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, CITY, FS-D, NHL.TV 

OTTAWA -- Detroit Red Wings leading goal-scorer Dylan Larkin is sick and will be a game-time decision against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on Saturday.

Larkin did not come to the arena for the morning skate. His 19 goals lead the Red Wings, and his 39 points are second.

If Larkin can't play Teemu Pulkkinen will go into the lineup, Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. 

If Pulkkinen plays it likely would be on a line with Andreas Athanasiou and Tomas Jurco, with Gustav Nyquist moving into Larkin's spot with Brad Richards and Tomas Tatar.  

The Red Wings have lost two straight games in regulation and are 1-2-1 in their past four. 

Pulkkinen, 24, has been scratched from the past eight games. He has six goals and six assists in 29 games this season. Last season with Grand Rapids, he led the American Hockey League with 34 goals. 

"It's not a lack of my confidence in him. I like him lots as a player," said Blashill, who coached Pulkkinen with Grand Rapids. "I think Teemu is a real good player. I think ultimately he'll score goals in the NHL. He's scored to some degree so far. The more he scores, the more he'll play in that sense. But he's got to do it with a complete game.

"When Teemu's at his best he's coming back, he's great in [the defensive] zone, he's stopping when he comes back in our end, he's attacking up the ice, he's doing a good job moving his feet, he's managing the puck and he's anticipating well, not cheating. When he struggles he cheats too much to try and get offense. When he plays well he anticipates great. It's a fine line there. I have lots of belief in Teemu. I have no problem putting him in here tonight and expecting him to be great tonight." 

The Red Wings' losing streak has left them one point ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning for third place in the Atlantic Division.

"We've just got to get back to playing the way we want to, have a little more urgency from the start of the game, minimize our mistakes. Because I think that's what's costing us now," Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said.

Petr Mrazek will start in goal for Detroit.

The Red Wings defeated the Senators 3-1 on Feb. 10, killing six of the Senators' seven power plays.

The Senators, six points behind the Lightning for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Eastern Conference entering play Saturday, are attempting to win their third straight game; it would be their longest since winning four in a row Nov. 19-25. Since then they've won consecutive games four times.

"It's been our issue for most of the year, is to win multiple games in a row," Senators captain Erik Karlsson said. "As of right now we've got nothing to lose again. We've put ourselves in this situation. We know what we have to do to be successful in here; it's just a matter of doing it.

"In the past three weeks I think we have improved a lot and we're playing better hockey. We've been winning some games. But even when we haven't I still think we've been playing decent hockey."

Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki will play Saturday after missing the past two games because of a head injury. Chris Wideman will be scratched.

Craig Anderson will start in goal for the Senators.

Here are the projected lineups:

Henrik Zetterberg - Pavel Datsyuk - Justin Abdelkader  
Dylan Larkin - Brad Richards - Tomas Tatar 
Gustav Nyquist - Andreas Athanasiou - Tomas Jurco 
Riley Sheahan - Luke Glendening - Darren Helm  
Kyle Quincey - Danny DeKeyser  
Brendan Smith - Mike Green  
Xavier Ouellet - Alexey Marchenko  
Petr Mrazek 
Jimmy Howard  
Injured: Johan Franzen (concussion), Drew Miller (knee), Niklas Kronwall (knee), Jonathan Ericsson (lower body) 
Scratched: Jakub Kindl, Teemu Pulkkinen

Mike Hoffman - Kyle Turris - Bobby Ryan  
Zack Smith - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Mark Stone  
Ryan Dzingel - Mika Zibanejad - Alex Chiasson  
Nick Paul - Curtis Lazar - Chris Neil  
Marc Methot - Erik Karlsson 
Dion Phaneuf - Cody Ceci  
Patrick Wiercioch - Mark Borowiecki 
Craig Anderson 
Andrew Hammond  
Injured: Chris Phillips (back), Clarke MacArthur (concussion), Dave Dziurzynski (undisclosed) 
Scratched: Shane Prince, Chris Wideman

Status report: MacArthur, who has been out since Oct. 4, is practicing as he tries to come back from a concussion. He will travel with the team on its upcoming road trip but there is no date set for his return.

Who's hot: Datsyuk has six goals and five assists during a seven-game point streak. … Nyquist has two assists in his past two games.

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