Just a couple of days ago, the Red Wings were flying high on the wings of a four game win streak and now they find themselves in a short losing streak looking for an offensive punch once again.[singlepic id=65 w=484 h=280 float=center]
Matchup: Ottawa Senators vs. Detroit Red Wings
Venue: Joe Louis Arena; Detroit, MI
Time: 7:30 PM EST
Television: Detroit- FSD; Ottawa- TSN
The Detroit Red Wings (6-3-1, 13 points, second place Atlantic Division) were able to lure veteran forward Daniel Alfredsson away from the Ottawa Senators (3-3-2, 8 points, 6th place Atlantic Division) in an effort to shore up their offense. Alfredsson will now get the chance against his former team to give the Red Wings the offensive boost they expected when he signed with the team. This is the second time this season though that the Red Wings have had offensive issues that have cost them winnable games.
In three of their past four games, the Red Wings have not scored more than two goals. The one saving grace from that stat is that in that span, the Red Wings are 2-1-1 so the offensive issues have not stood out as much as if they were 0-4-0 in that span. Last time the Red Wings were in a rut offensively, Mike Babcock switched up lines and it seemed to jumpstart the players. Perhaps it is time for a shakeup once again, for a short period at least, to see if the team can break out of their offensive woes.
The latest offensive nightmare came on Monday night when the San Jose Sharks visited Joe Louis Arena. The Red Wings went 65 minutes plus a shootout without scoring a single goal en route to a 1-0 shootout loss. The Red Wings did run into a hot team with a goaltender who has owned the Red Wings in his career, but when you are able to hold a high caliber team to a limited amount of goals you need to connect for at least one.
The Red Wings were expecting to get Niklas Kronwall back tonight after suffering a mild concussion last week. He will instead be a game time decision after taking a puck to the mouth in practice.
Ottawa comes into this game losing five of their past seven games after opening the season with a victory. Ottawa came into this season with high expectations after making a trip to the second round of they playoffs last season. Some experts had the Senators finishing as high as second in the division. Though it is still early in the season, Senators' fans have to be concerned with the lack of consistency the team has shown thus far.
Jimmy Howard will be starting in net for the Wings tonight. It will be his third consecutive start since his injury which forced him to miss three games. He had a nice bounce back game against San Jose after allowing four goals to Phoenix in the previous start.
The Senators will counter with Craig Anderson in net tonight. Anderson will be looking to build on his 3-1-1 record this season. Anderson was a big reason the Senators were able to make a playoff run last season and was to be counted on even more this season after the numbers he posted last year. This will be the 11th time Anderson has faced the Red Wings in his career. In 10 career games, Andreson has posted a 2-5-0 record with a .912 save percentage and a 3.14 GAA.
All divisional games are big games no matter how early in the season it is. This is another chance for the Red Wings to showcase that they can be a powerhouse not only in the Atlantic Division but in the Eastern Conference.