The lowly Ottawa Senators and lowly Detroit Red Wings will square up on Friday night at Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit. It’s been a tough season for both teams, especially the Red Wings who head into Friday with a record of 11-30-3 and 25 points. The Red Wings are the only team in the Atlantic Division that the Senators are ahead of, though that distance is quite substantial.
Ottawa are at 16-22-5 with 37 points, which seems like a lot juxtaposed to Detroit. However, it’s still a losing record and the Senators are not going to be going to the playoffs in 2020. The Senators finished last in the division last season with a record of 29-47-6 and 64 points. They’re on pace to be better than that, and with the Red Wings playing so poorly, it’s a near certainty that the Senators will move up a spot. That’s not much to celebrate, though.
The tank is going well in Detroit for the Red Wings. They look destined to have the best chance of being awarded the No. 1 pick in the draft at the draft lottery. Although, it’s not a guarantee, as we saw last season with the Devils winning the lottery. If the Senators won, the pick was going over to the Colorado Avalanche. As it stands, though, the Red Wings have the greatest chance of winning the Alexis Lafrenier sweepstakes.
The Senators are currently projected to select third in the draft. However, the Devils have been playing serviceable hockey recently, and the Senators are in the midst of hard regression. The Senators are going into Detroit on a five-game losing streak, and losses in six of their previous seven games. Since December 16th, the Senators have won just two games, which came against the Predators and Sabres. They’ve yet to win a game in the Year 2020.
On the other side, the Red Wings recently got a rare win, as they gifted the Canadiens another loss in a 4-3 game at Little Caesars Arena on Tuesday. The Red Wings got a late goal from the talented rookie, Filip Zadina, who has been the lone bright spot in a throwaway season in Detroit. Zadina was available for the Canadiens to draft in 2018, though they passed on him and he made them pay for that mistake on Tuesday night. It was just the second win in ten games for the Wings, but it didn’t seem like it after the game in the Red Wings’ locker room. We’ll see if they can develop some momentum after the big win over the Habs. Head below for our free Senators vs. Red Wings pick.
Ottawa Senators vs. Detroit Red Wings Betting Odds:
Senators vs. Red Wings Prediction:
There wasn’t much room for error on the injury front for the Senators going into this season. If they suffered two or three injuries here and there, the Senators were going to find it difficult to compete. Early on in the season, they largely avoided the injury bug. However, their blue line has suffered through some key injuries recently, and the team has suffered tremendously as a result.
With three defencemen out of the lineup, the Senators have been finding it incredibly hard to clear the puck out of their zone. Dylan Demelo returned against the Capitals, but it didn’t help in a 6-1 loss. Former Maple Leafs’ Rob Hainsey and Nikita Saitsev have missed time as well. Hainsey could return in Detroit, but Saitsev is currently on the IR and will be unavailable tonight.
Their defence was not too stellar to begin with, so the injuries complicated an already weak blueline unit. The Senators have gotten absolutely torched in the defensive zone recently. They’ve yielded an average of 4.5 goals per game in their previous ten outings, along with at least 5 goals allowed in each of their last four games. The Senators are 29th in the NHL with 3.42 goals against per game.
Their effort has tanked on the road this season, as that number gets worse with 3.87 goals allowed as a visitor. The Red Wings are not working with a talented offensive unit, but they may start to look better with Zadina as he continues to gather confidence off a game-winning performance versus the Canadiens. The Ottawa defence should make them look fine tonight.
The Senators are expected to go with third-string goaltender Marcus Hogberg on Friday night. Craig Anderson has been struggling mightily, and the Sens are on a back-to-back, so Hogberg gets a chance against the Red Wings in Detroit tonight. Nilsson has been the best of the three, with the youngest of the three, Hogberg, posting the worst numbers in his time in the crease.
Hogberg holds a 3.42 GAA and 0.894 save percentage in five starts and two relief appearances. He stepped in for Anderson after he was hit up for 5 goals against the Capitals in the Senators’ most recent showing. Hogberg allowed a goal on 11 shots, as Alexander Ovechkin snuck a slapper past him to make it a 6-1 contest. Hogberg has been lost in his last four starts. Opposing offences exploited him for at least 4 goals in each game and a 0.883 save percentage.
Jimmy Howard is expected to get the nod on the opposite end of the ice for the Red Wings in this one. The Red Wings held on for Howard too long, as they weren’t able to work out a trade the past couple of seasons. He’s always been mentioned on the trade block, but the Red Wings may be stuck with him now. Howard owns a leaky 4.04 GAA and 0.884 save percentage in 17 outings this season. The 35-year-old may be unmovable at this point, but the defensive woes have been a team effort. Detroit are dead last in the NHL, having surrendered 3.8 goals per game in 2019-20. Both of these defences should combine to allow ample scoring opportunities Friday night at Little Caesars Arena.