Preview: Detroit at Ottawa
When: 7:00 PM ET, Saturday, February 20, 2016
Where: Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, Ontario
The Detroit Red Wings are giving up goals at an alarming rate, but they get a chance to patch up their defensive holes against one of their favorite opponents when they visit the Ottawa Senators on Saturday. Detroit has yielded 10 tallies over the first two contests of its four-game road trip and has dropped four straight away from home.
“We cannot play that way and have long-term success,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill told reporters following Thursday’s 6-3 loss at Pittsburgh. The Red Wings have won three straight against the Senators and three in a row in Ottawa, including two this season. A 3-1 loss at Detroit started a three-game skid for the Senators, but they have rebounded with back-to-back victories over Buffalo and Carolina. Ottawa, which is six points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, is seeking its first three-game winning streak since a four-game run from Nov. 19-25.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FSN Detroit, TVA, CITY (Ottawa)
ABOUT THE RED WINGS (29-20-9): After allowing 15 goals in its last three games overall and 19 tallies in the four straight road losses, Detroit held a team meeting prior to Friday’s practice in Ottawa. “Just showing some stuff that we need to improve on,” forward Justin Abdelkader said. “Obviously, giving up five goals (per game) is not the style and the type of play that we want. That’s gonna move us forward here. We’ve got to be better, with some better attention to detail.” Petr Mrazek will get the start despite permitting five goals in each of his last two contests.
ABOUT THE SENATORS (27-26-6): Craig Anderson made 30 saves to extend his home winning streak to four games, a span in which he’s allowed only five goals, but he surrendered nine tallies to Detroit in both losses at Canadian Tire Centre this season. While Alex Chiasson ended his 12-game goal-scoring drought, Zack Smith scored for the fourth time in seven games Thursday to boost his season total to 13 tallies – one shy of his career high set in 2011-12. Captain Erik Karlsson set up a pair of goals to increase his league-leading assist total to 54.
1. Detroit C Dylan Larkin needs one goal to become the club’s first rookie to score 20 in a season since captain Henrik Zetterberg (2002-03).
2. Karlsson has collected 15 points in 14 career games versus the Red Wings.
3. Detroit RW Gustav Nyquist has notched five goals and six assists in 11 games against Ottawa and is riding a seven-game point streak in the series.
PREDICTION: Senators 4, Red Wings 3