Red Wings-Senators Preview
The Ottawa Senators are getting back on track after a sluggish stretch. The Detroit Red Wings still have work to do to shake out of their funk.
The Senators try to capitalize on another meeting with the struggling Red Wings as they go for a sweep of this home-and-home series Saturday night.
Ottawa followed a season-opening 3-1-0 stretch by losing four in a row. The Senators, though, have put that slide behind them, ending a four-game home losing streak by beating Calgary 5-4 in a shootout Wednesday before edging Detroit 3-1 on the road Friday.
"We needed it," right wing Bobby Ryan said. "We’ve got to start to get on a roll. It’s two points in a division road game, a four-point game."
Ryan and Kyle Turris are keying Ottawa’s turnaround. Ryan has two goals and two assists in the last three games, while Turris set up one of those goals while scoring two of his own in the past two.
The duo combined for two goals and one assist against the Red Wings.
Unlike Ottawa (5-3-2), Detroit isn’t having much luck in front of the net. The team has been held to 12 goals during a 1-5-1 stretch after scoring 11 while winning its first three games.
Coach Jeff Blashill wants to see the Red Wings (4-5-1) get closer to the net while also preventing opponents from crowding their goaltender.
"We talk about owning each crease and we didn’t own each crease," Blashill said Friday. "They score two net-front goals and we couldn’t get there."
Henrik Zetterberg leads Detroit with 12 points after scoring Friday. The center has five points in five road games and 11 in eight visits to Canada’s capital, including two goals and one assist in the past two.
Zetterberg got one of each before Gustav Nyquist scored with 48 seconds left in overtime of a 3-2 win at Ottawa on Dec. 27, giving the Wings a fifth win in six games there.
Nyquist has six points in his last six meetings with the Senators, including one in each of the last four.
The right wing’s four goals are tied for the team lead with Justin Abdelkader and Teemu Pulkkinen. However, Abdelkader got all of his in the first two games.
The left wing doesn’t even have a point in eight straight, and he hasn’t dealt with a longer drought since a 13-game stretch Feb. 9-March 5, 2013.
The Red Wings will likely turn to Petr Mrazek after Jimmy Howard made 32 saves Friday. Mrazek is 2-3-0 with a 2.61 goals-against average in five appearances, with three of them coming in the back end of games on consecutive days.
He had 33 saves before giving up three shootout goals – one to Turris – in a 2-1 home loss in his only career meeting with Ottawa on March 31.
The Senators are also expected to make a switch in net, going back to Craig Anderson after Andrew Hammond’s 29-save effort against the Red Wings. Anderson is 4-2-1 with a 2.78 GAA, and he’s lost his last two matchups with Detroit by giving up seven goals on 70 shots, including Nyquist’s winner in December.