SENATORS (37-26-12) at RED WINGS (40-23-12)
TV: RDS, TSN5; FS-D
DETROIT -- The goaltending situations of the Detroit Red Wings (40-23-12) and the Ottawa Senators (37-26-12) are at opposite ends of the spectrum entering their game Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena (7:30 p.m. ET: RDS, TSN5; FS-D).
Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek have been inconsistent for the Red Wings, while the Senators climbed back into the Stanley Cup Playoff race behind Andrew Hammond, who started his NHL career 14-1-1 with a 1.92 goals-against average and .938 save percentage.
Hammond will start for the Senators after missing a game with a lower-body injury. Ottawa is three points behind the Boston Bruins for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference.
"It's a very important game for us," Hammond said. "But I can't get caught up in that. I just have to make sure I'm prepared and ready to play."
Mrazek will start for the Red Wings, who are in third place in the Atlantic Division three points ahead of the Bruins. He made 23 saves and shut out the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-0 on Saturday in Detroit but was pulled early in the second period after allowing four goals on 11 shots in a 5-4 loss to the New York Islanders on Sunday.
But one of Mrazek's strong suits is the ability to bounce back from bad goals and bad performances beyond that of most 22-year-old goalies.
"Obviously, one of these guys has to grab it," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "We're in the winning business. This is a huge game for us tonight. It's exciting to have the opportunity and we're giving [Petr] the opportunity.
"You have to have a skill-set before any of that part matters. He's been good. He's given us an opportunity. You go through the numbers he's been good. I just watch. They decide."
Mrazek has already moved on from his last game.
"You have to be mentally strong. Don't think about Sunday. It was over," Mrazek said. "You're just looking forward, looking to next day for future."
Ottawa center David Legwand, who is from the Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe Woods, was with the Red Wings last season when they made the playoffs after a late push.
"Last year we were in the same situation with Detroit and we pulled it out," he said.
Here are the projected lineups:
Clarke MacArthur - Kyle Turris - Mark Stone
Zack Smith - Mika Zibanejad - Bobby Ryan
Erik Condra - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Curtis Lazar
Mike Hoffman - David Legwand - Alex Chiasson
Marc Methot - Erik Karlsson
Patrick Wiercioch - Cody Ceci
Mark Borowiecki - Eric Gryba
Scratched: Colin Greening, Jared Cowen
Injured: Robin Lehner (concussion), Milan Michalek (upper body), Chris Neil (broken thumb), Matt Puempel (right ankle), Chris Phillips (back)
Justin Abdelkader - Henrik Zetterberg - Gustav Nyquist
Darren Helm - Pavel Datsyuk - Tomas Tatar
Teemu Pulkkinen - Riley Sheahan - Tomas Jurco
Drew Miller - Luke Glendening - Joakim Andersson
Jonathan Ericsson - Niklas Kronwall
Kyle Quincey - Danny DeKeyser
Brendan Smith - Marek Zidlicky
Scratched: Daniel Cleary, Jakub Kindl
Injured: Erik Cole (upper body), Johan Franzen (concussion), Jonas Gustavsson (concussion)
Status report: Sheahan returns after missing two games with an upper-body injury.
Who's hot: Lazar has three goals and an assist in his past five games. … Tatar has two goals and an assist in his past three games.