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We could have a barn-burner on our hands, folks.

The Ottawa Senators come in to town to take on the Detroit Red Wings, in what should be a fierce Atlantic Division matchup. Roughly ten games into the season for both teams, the Red Wings are right on the Senators tail!

In all seriousness, both these teams have had a rough stretch as of late. Detroit is looking to end a 5 game losing streak, while Ottawa is trying to do the same with their own four game losing skid. Funny enough, the Senators have only won one game this season, and it came against Tampa Bay.

This game may end being the classic case of “Well, someone has to win, right?” so this could be a forgettable showdown (or memorable, for all the wrong reasons), but who knows, with both teams struggling defensively, this could be a sneaky fun offensive game for both sides.

Projected Lines

Detroit Red Wings

Danny DeKeyser’s availability for this game is a bit in question after leaving Tuesday night’s game early. Jeff Blashill has not yet given an update on his status.

Aside from that, all the lines look to be the same. Evgeny Svechnikov is in for his second game on the fourth line, filling in for the injured Adam Erne. I would like to see Svechnikov see more ice time with one of the middle-6 trios, playing only 7:28 TOI against Vancouver. Depth scoring remains an issue, seeing as both Detroit’s goals from Tuesday were scored on a 5-on-3 and 4-on-3.

Detroit are 11-5 SU in their last 16 games against Ottawa. – Fun fact from our friends at OddsShark.com

Ottawa Senators

This is certainly…A Team.

One that is now missing their top-2 centers in Colin White and Artem Anisimov, both of whom were placed on injury reserve this morning. In response, Ottawa recalled top prospect Logan Brown, who is slotted in as the first line center. This is the literal definition of throwing him to the wolves. Yikes.

For as bleak as those forward lines look outside of Brady Tkachuk, the defense gives some reason for optimism. Thomas Chabot is a Norris-caliber defensemen, and Erik Brannstrom is an exciting young rookie who is only getting better.

Three Thoughts

1.) Logan Brown on the Top Line

As previously mentioned, Logan Brown is Ottawa’s number one center tonight. The big man has enjoyed a nice start to the season withe Belleville of the AHL, recording 3 goals and 7 points through 5 games. But the NHL and AHL are quite different in talent level. Having only 2 games of NHL experience under his belt, playing top line minutes will be a tall task for the 2016 first rounder.

If you’re the Red Wings, this is a situation you have to take advantage of. The Dylan Larkin line has thrived off the forecheck all season, and with an inexperienced rookie down the middle, as well as the defensively poor Anthony Duclair flanked on his right wing, they could feast tonight.

For as tempting as it has been for Blashill to break up the lines to spread the offense, this is one game where that can’t happen.

2.) Bernier vs. Nilsson

For as thrilling as this game looks on paper, it only gets better: battle of the backups!

With Jimmy Howard getting the first game of the back-to-back, Bernier will appear in the crease tonight. He’s often been the punching bag of fans, being on the losing end more often then not, but his .905 save percentage hasn’t been all his fault. He, nor Howard, just haven’t been getting adequate defense in front of them, not to mention little goal support.

In the crease for Ottawa in Anders Nilsson, who has actually been one of the league’s best goaltenders. He currently boast a .932 save percentage through 3 games, that, coming with a heavy workload.

As shown by the great work of Sean Tieney, Nilsson’s hot start is really put into perspective from the above chart. He’s getting no help, and yet, still putting up solid numbers.

3.) Athanasiou Buzzing

Andreas Athanasiou still remains without a goal to show this season. But there is no denying he has improved over the course of each game. He was arguably Detroit’s best player against Vancouver, creating quality scoring chances.

What has stuck out to me is he doesn’t seem frustrated. In fact, he’s been playing unselfishly, which might seem surprising for someone still looking to get into the goal column. One play in particular that stood out to me on Tuesday came on the powerplay. Anthony Mantha fed Athanasiou for a great looking scoring chance, but instead, Athanasiou opted to go right back to Mantha who ended up having an even better scoring chance. I think that speaks volumes to the unselfishness he’s playing with, and how its not all about the big stats for him.


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