Senators look to bounce back against surging Wings
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OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators will be trying to reverse a trend and the Detroit Red Wings will be attempting to build on one when the two teams clash at Canadian Tire Centre on Thursday night.
The Senators (5-2-5) will be playing for the first time since taking their worst defeat of the season, an 8-3 home loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Monday. Uncharacteristically, they have surrendered 16 goals in their past three games.
"We're just giving up way too many chances," Ottawa winger Zack Smith said after practice Wednesday. "Odd-man rushes we didn't give up last year. That was a big reason we were so good defensively. We have to clean up in our end a bit. We're leaving a little too much guessing for our goaltenders. I think we just need to be a lot more predictable for the team."
The Red Wings (6-6-1) have won their last two, most recently a 5-3 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday that stemmed from a strong first period.
"One of the best starts that I ever experienced," Red Wings left winger Tomas Tatar told the Detroit Free Press on Wednesday. "All four lines were playing really good. We played really fast. We put pucks right up, we didn't take it back to our zone, we were just playing a fast game, and that is what we should do."
The Senators will be bolstered by the return of No. 1 center Kyle Turris, who has missed three games with a viral infection.
Starting in goal for Ottawa will be Craig Anderson, who gave up six goals on 15 shots in two periods against Montreal.
Jimmy Howard will be making his sixth consecutive start in goal for the Red Wings.
The Red Wings are embarking on a four-game road trip that takes them through western Canada. They will have fond memories at the kickoff point, as they scored a 2-1 shootout victory when they were at Canadian Tire Centre for the second game of the season.
That night saw Red Wings rookie Martin Frk and Senators defenseman Dion Phaneuf break up a scoreless tie with third-period goals, the latter extending the affair with less than two minutes left in regulation.
Howard stopped 37 shots and Anderson made 29 saves before Frans Nielsen scored the only goal of the shootout.
That night also started more trends for the Senators, who are 2-2-4 on home ice and 1-4 in shootouts.
"Our structure has been better on the road than it has been at home," said Phaneuf, whose team is 3-0-1 as visitors. "It's something that we're concerned about and we're going to try to address because we have to be better at home."
Senators center Derick Brassard thinks the problem might be outside the boards.
"When we're on the road, it's just us and the coaches," Brassard said. "Here, there's always distractions, guys have got families, kids, and you prepare yourself differently. Every player has to prepare ourselves differently for home games. Usually, it's the other way around, you can't win on the road."
Updated November 2, 2017