Preview: Senators at Red Wings
The Ottawa Senators overcame a dreadful start and were hovering around the NHL version of .500 until hitting a tailspin since returning from the Christmas break. The Senators will look to put a halt to a five-game slide (0-4-1) when they visit the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night in a matchup of the Atlantic Division's two worst teams.
The losses aside, Ottawa barely has been competitive during its current skid, giving up 22 goals in the last four contests after Tuesday's 6-1 mauling in Washington. “We’ve just got to come together and keep working through this," defenseman Mark Borowiecki said. “It’s not going to be any one thing and it’s not all of a sudden the light bulb is going to go on and we’re going to start winning games." The Red Wings have lost both matchups against Ottawa this season while winning only four of their last 24 (4-18-2). However, Detroit improved to 3-0-0 against Montreal this season with a 4-3 win on Tuesday night and has a chance to post back-to-back victories at home for the first time since Nov. 8-10.
TIME: 7:30 p.m. ET. TV: NHL Network, TSN5, RDS (Ottawa), FS Detroit
ABOUT THE SENATORS (16-22-5): Leading goal scorer Anthony Duclair and defenseman Dylan DeMelo returned from injuries Tuesday but Ottawa lost forward Nick Paul to a lower-body injury that is expected to sideline him for at least two weeks. “Hopefully he’s going to be healthy as soon as possible. He’s a key player for us, he shows up every night, he’s a big body and he brings a physical game,” forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau said. Defenseman Ron Hainsey is expected back in the lineup for the first time since Dec. 19.
ABOUT THE RED WINGS (11-30-3): Frans Nielsen has labored through a miserable offensive season with one goal in his first 38 games before doubling that total with a pair of goals against the Canadiens. However, Nielsen did not practice Thursday due to illness and coach Jeff Blashill told reporters that he was unsure of his availability for Friday's matchup. Rookie Filip Zadina, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2018 draft, delivered the game-winning game against Montreal and has notched all five of his tallies in the last 12 games.
1. Duclair had four goals and an assist in the two matchups versus Detroit this season.
2. Red Wings F Tyler Bertuzzi has scored only four of his 15 goals at home.
3. Senators G Marcus Hogberg enters Friday's matchup having allowed at least four goals in four straight starts.
PREDICTION: Red Wings 4, Senators 3