Gameday preview: Senators at Red Wings

Riding a three game losing streak in which they’ve allowed four goals in each of their losses, the Ottawa Senators arrive in the Motor City. It was here where the Senators enjoyed their best 60 minute effort this season – a 6-1 victory on Oct. 23.

Gameday preview: Senators at Red Wings
Kyle Turris #7 of the Ottawa Senators battles for the puck with Johan Franzen #93 of the Detroit Red Wings during the second period at Joe Louis Arena on October 23, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Ottawa Senators (8-10-4)
@
Detroit Red Wings (10-6-7)
Joe Louis Arena: 7:00 pm EST

Storylines…

Riding a three game losing streak in which they’ve allowed four goals in each of their losses, the Ottawa Senators arrive in the Motor City. It was here where the Senators enjoyed their best 60 minute effort this season – a 6-1 victory on Oct. 23.

Conspicuously absent from Detroit’s lineup will be former Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson. Including tonight’s game, he will miss his fifth straight game due to a groin injury. It is expected that he will make his highly anticipated return to the lineup for his Dec. 1 return to Ottawa, however.

Thriving in his place was prospect Gustav Nyquist. The highly touted fourth-round pick from the 2008 draft (121st overall) scored two goals in his season debut and helped Detroit end its seven-game losing streak (0-2-5) on Thursday versus Carolina. For those unaware, it was widely held at the end of the preseason that Nyquist had earned a roster spot based on the strength of his play, but because of cap constraints, he was returned to the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins (where he tallied 7 goals and 21 points in 15 games).

The biggest news coming out of yesterday’s morning practice is another shuffling of the lines:

MacArthur-Turris-Ryan
Michalek-Spezza-Zibanejad
Conacher-Smith-Neil
Greening-Grant-Condra

Methot-Karlsson
Cowen-Wiercioch
Phillips-Borowiecki

The starting goaltender has not been named, however, it’s expected that Craig Anderson will get the nod.

Should the Senators drop a fourth consecutive game, expect changes. Bryan Murray has aggressively been working the phones, but at the very least, the Sens could see some bodies move between Binghamton and the parent club.

Interesting Stat #1

After contributing a goal and an assist on Wednesday versus Minnesota, Mika Zibanejad enters the revolving door known as Jason Spezza’s wing and gets the next opportunity to prove he can play in a top six capacity.

Over at The 6th Sens yesterday, I wrote about Spezza’s struggles away from the puck and noted that Zibanejad has some favorable numbers that one hopes will be benefit Spezza. I wrote:

To Zibanejad’s credit, he’s second on the team in Corsi For %. He leads the team in shots per 60 minutes of ice-time with 10.6. He is second behind only Bobby Ryan in points per 60 minutes of ice-time with 2.32.

In other words, he has the puck possessing and point producing characteristics that hopefully will make Spezza’s line more dynamic. Hopefully Paul MacLean gives him an extended opportunity to show what he can do.

Interesting Stat #2

Much is being made about the difficulties Ottawa’s defencemen have had moving the puck and exiting their zone, they’ve done an excellent job of contributing some secondary scoring. Entering last night’s games, Ottawa’s blue line had contributed 15 goals. It’s the second-highest total in the league that trails only the Phoenix Coyotes’ 19 goals.

Interesting Stat #3:

The plus/minus statistic is frequently referred to as a flawed statistic that should not be used as a reflection of play because it so frequently requires context. Case in point, Erik Karlsson is a -4 in his past two games, however, plus/minus doesn’t account for his goaltenders having a save percentage of .846 when he’s been on the ice at 5-on-5 during these two games.

Furthermore, looking at the uncharacteristic plight of the Red Wings, I thought it’d be worth mentioning that Pavel Datsyuk is a -8 in his last 5 games. Forget those three Selke Trophies for a second; clearly, he’s a terrible hockey player.

Interesting Stat #4:

0: the number of tweets Daniel Alfredsson (@DAlfredsson11) has made since signing a contract with the Detroit Red Wings.

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