Game Day – DET @ OTT

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(30-13-6, 2nd West)

vs.

(17-26-8, 13th East)

Once again, the schedule maker does the Ottawa Senators no favors as they return home from a one game road trip only to be ambushed by a team who was waiting in Ottawa for them.  Fresh off a 2-1 loss at the hands of the New Jersey Devils, Ottawa looks to gain a much needed win as they face the perrennial powerhouse Detroit Red Wings.  The Wings come into the game in 2nd place in the Western Conference, trailing the Vancouver Canucks by 7 points.

Detroit defeated Ottawa 4-1 in their only meeting last season, as the two clubs do not meet very often since they reside in different conferences.  Danny Cleary looks to return after missing more than a month with a broken ankle.  The Wings will not have Pavel Datsyuk, Mike Modano, Brad Stuart or Thomas Holmstrom in the lineup as all are out with injuries.

For the Senators, C Jason Spezza will miss his 15th game in a row, but hopes are that he might be available for the club’s next game on Saturday at Long Island.  Jesse Winchester is doubtful for personal reasons.  Jarkko Ruutu and Pascal Leclaire are also out, with Ruutu hoping to return Saturday.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Detroit

Nicklas Lidstrom, D – The sure-fire Hall of Fame defenseman will play in his 23rd career game against the Senators.  He has recorded 11 career points vs Ottawa, including 2 game winning goals.  This is most likely the last chance for Ottawa fans to see one of the best defensemen ever to play the game live at Scotiabank Place, as he will turn 41 in April.  Even if he plays one more season, due to the schedule format, Detroit will not visit Ottawa next year.   Lidstrom was named as a captain of last weekend’s All-Star game, and the team he drafted won the game 11-10 over the team drafted by opposing captain Eric Staal.

Ottawa

Chris Phillips, D – Phillips is in the last year of his contract, and as a UFA-to-be, will be a prime player to be moved out of town before the trade deadline.  His play lately has been inconsistent at best, but he does still have value around the league for teams that could play him in the 3-4 slot as a shutdown player.  That is where he should be slotted at this point in his career, not in the 1-2 pairing as he is right now in Ottawa.  Phillips is usually steady, but always seems to leave people wanting more from him.  He has been a great Ottawa Senator, and great member of the community.  If these are indeed his last days wearing the Sens uniform, hopefully he can have a better showing & leave town on a high note.  The better he plays over the next few games, the more value he will have on the trade market.

LOCAL OTTAWA FLAVOUR

Former Senators’ first round draft pick Patrick Eaves (29th overall-2003) has found a home on the Red Wings’ third/fourth line.  He has notched 13 goals already this season and is on pace to eclipse his career high of 20, set in his rookie season with the Senators.  Veteran C Kris Draper played half of one season and one playoff year with the Ottawa 67’s, in the 1990-91 season.

LAST 5 GAMES

DETOTT
RECORD3-2-00-3-2
GOALS FOR137
GOALS AGAINST1718
PP0/11 (0.0%)2/15 (13.3%)
PK8/11 (76.5%)5/9 (55.6%)

THREE KEYS TO A SENATORS VICTORY

Goaltending – Whether Brian Elliot gets back in the pipes or Robin Lehner gets back-to-back starts, they will need to play a spectacular game if the Senators have any hope of ending the slide.

Power Play – The Senators have power play goals in back to back games for the first time since Jan 1st & Jan 7th.  A key component that has to function well for teams to win, and Ottawa is no exception to that rule.

Heart & Soul – The grinders have to compete at a high level as, even with their current injuries,  the Wings are more talented and have more confidence than the Senators.  Outworking the opposition on almost every shift is a necessity if Ottawa is to earn two points.

Check back here at SenShot for a complete post-game wrap-up.

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