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Red Wings visit Senators coming off break

by Brian Hunter

RED WINGS (30-13-6) at SENATORS (17-26-8)


Last 10:
Detroit 6-3-1; Ottawa 1-7-2

Season series: This is the only meeting of the 2010-11 season between these teams. Jimmy Howard stopped 29 shots and Pavel Datsyuk contributed a goal and an assist to Detroit's 4-1 win over Ottawa at Joe Louis Arena in the most recent matchup on Feb. 13, 2010.

Big story: One of only six teams that didn't play Tuesday night when NHL action resumed following the All-Star break, the Red Wings used the time off to heal some of their many injuries and are expected to have forward Danny Cleary back in the lineup after he missed over a month with a broken ankle. Datsyuk, who hasn't played since Dec. 22 due to a broken wrist, has been activated from injured reserve but isn't expected to make his return just yet.

Team Scope:

Red Wings: While its forward corps has been banged up to the point where names like Jan Mursak, Tomas Tatar and Cory Emmerton have littered the lineup over the past several weeks, Detroit has more than traded water and remains in first place in the Central Division, second in the Western Conference behind Vancouver. It will be a busy month of February for the Red Wings, who play 14 games in the span of 27 days.

"Hopefully we can just get off to a good start after a four-day break," forward Todd Bertuzzi said. "Looking for a fast start with some fresh guys coming back, so I think all of the guys are pretty excited."

Senators: In just his second NHL start and fourth appearance, 19-year-old Swedish goalie Robin Lehner gave Ottawa an excellent chance to win Tuesday in New Jersey, turning aside 31 shots as the Senators were outshot badly by the Devils. Unfortunately for Lehner, a goal by Dainius Zubrus with 5:43 remaining proved decisive in a 2-1 defeat. Alex Kovalev scored the only Ottawa goal on a two-man advantage in the second period.

"Robin kept us in it," defenseman Chris Phillips said. "After the first 40 minutes we didn't even deserve to have a chance, but we did. We set a goal of winning the third period. We came hard, had a lot of chances, played more the way we wanted to for the entire game and it didn't come for us and they got the late one."

Who's hot: Darren Helm has 4 goals and 8 assists in his last 13 games for the Red Wings. … Chris Kelly has goals in two of the last three games for the Senators.

Injury report: Detroit goalie Chris Osgood (sports hernia), forward Mike Modano (wrist) and defenseman Brad Stuart (jaw) remain on injured reserve, while forward Tomas Holmstrom (hand) is also sidelined. … Ottawa forward Jesse Winchester missed Tuesday's game for personal reasons, while goalie Pascal Leclaire (lower body) and forwards Jason Spezza (shoulder) and Jarkko Ruutu (lower body) are on injured reserve.

Stat pack: Johan Franzen, who leads the Red Wings with 21 goals, picked up his 200th career point when he scored against the Devils last Wednesday. … The Senators were on pace to set a franchise-low for shots Tuesday before registering 10 in the third period to finish with 16 for the game. They had just 10 shots in a 3-1 loss to the Maple Leafs on Jan. 5, 2002.

Puck drop:
Nicklas Lidstrom returned to Detroit with some well-earned bragging rights after his hand-selected All-Star team scored an 11-10 win over the one assembled by fellow captain Eric Staal of Carolina at the RBC Center on Sunday. Lidstrom finished a whopping plus-7 and earned an assist on Matt Duchene's breakaway goal in the first period that drew his team even after Staal's group jumped to an early 4-0 lead.

"I had time coming up with the puck through the O-zone and just hit the blue line and kind of waited for Duchene to cut in behind their (defense)," Lidstrom told the Detroit Free Press. "It was good timing for him to get open for me to pass it to him."

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