What was already an important game became a vital game for the Ottawa Senators when Detroit scored in overtime last night in Detroit to move 3 points up on Ottawa in the Eastern Conference standings.
7:30 PM, CANADIAN TIRE CENTRE
TV: Rogers Sportsnet RADIO: TSN1200
This is the fourth and final meeting of the teams, in a season series that has been a road warrior series. Ottawa won the first two games in Detroit, while the Wings took the game held in Ottawa in the return of Daniel Alfredsson to the city where he had played 17 seasons.
Ottawa has been off since February 8th, suffering a 5-2 loss at the hands of the Bruins. Detroit came back from the Olympic break and earned a 2-1 OT victory last night in Montreal.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Daniel Alfredsson, DET: All eyes will be on the former long-time Senators captain as he makes his 2nd (and final?) return to the Nation’s Capital. Alfredsson has played in 2 games against Ottawa, netting a goal and an assist in the previous two matchups. Alfredsson has 36 points in 47 games with the Wings this season.
Bobby Ryan, OTT: If the Senators are going to make a playoff run, they need a re-energized (and recently engaged) Ryan to be one of their most valuable players. Ryan has struggled so far in 2014, and needs to get his mojo back, and soon.
TOP 3 STORYLINES FOR THE GAME
1. Lehner Time: Robin Lehner will get the start as Craig Anderson has been in Florida preparing for the birth of his second child. Ottawa will need both goalies performing at the top of their game down the stretch, starting tonight.
2. Lineup Shuffle: Paul MacLean is at it again, and if the last couple of practices have been any indication, this is how the forward lines might look tonight:
But, this wouldn’t be the first time MacLean shows one thing in practice and a completely different lineup for a game.
3. Back-To-Back – The Senators need to take advantage of the Wings’ back to back situation and come out storming early on, making the Wings realize they aren’t going to have a chance. Ottawa hasn’t been quick out of the gate so far this season, but that needs to change now.
The Senators should be one of the most rested teams heading into the stretch run, with only 2 players playing in the Olympics. They don’t have time to ease back into the grind, because a loss against the Wings puts them 5 points out of the playoffs.