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Three Key Takeaways from Red Wings vs Senators

The Detroit Red Wings have had a week of success. Starting with a rebuilding Blue Jackets team recording a 4-0 win on Monday, Played on Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins (6-3) who had a two-game win streak going into the game. Then finally a Saturday game for the Red Wings vs Senators, which presented a juicy matchup. They have an offence that produces as well as Detroit. In addition, a smothering defence that is allowing fewer goals against.


Three Key Takeaways from Red Wings vs Senators

As much as all three games mattered, Saturday’s contest meant much more as Ottawa is a division rival. It is a rebuilding team finally starting to get out of the sewers of the NHL standings and hopefully contend for a playoff spot in a difficult Atlantic division. As history had it, Detroit played a great game and put a feisty Ottawa Senators team down (5-2). They’ll look to carry that same success against the Calgary Flames. Here are three key takeaways from this Red Wings vs Senators game.

Powerplay Has Continued Success

A big part of this glorious run has been the powerplay. Going into the game Detroit carried a 46.2% powerplay percentage, good enough for first in the NHL by a good spread. During the game, Detroit converted on three of the five powerplay opportunities they had. At the conclusion of the game with a 50% powerplay percentage on the season.

While this stat alone should make Detroit fans happy, it gets better the more you look at it. When you look at advanced stats courtesy of Detroit xGF on the powerplay is a meager 0.72 over three periods. This means Detroit is scoring at a higher pace than expected with the chances they are given. Also, the big red flag that fans have had with the early success of the powerplay is the reliance on DeBrincat. In this game, the three powerplay goals were all driven by other players. Of course, a successful powerplay is a successful powerplay, but it is a good sign when other players are factoring in.

Defence and Goaltending Come Together 

The big advantage statistically the Ottawa Senators had going into Saturday’s game was their defence. While their goals against average was only .25 fewer than Detroits’, Ottawa’s  expected goals against (xGA) for this season is only at 13.73 after yesterday’s game, while Detroit sits at 16.8 xGA. Even from an eyeball test, you can see Detroit’s defence was giving up two-on-ones, breakaways, and making simple mistakes. Husso also carried a -1.1 goals saved above average into Saturday’s game.

Saturday the Red Wings defense showed up. While Ottawa recorded 37 shots on net they weren’t quality chances. Husso also stepped up and recorded a huge .958 save percentage in a big game. They stunned a heavily offensive Senators team that had averaged over five goals a game in their last three games.

A Brewing Rivalry

A Red Wings vs Senators rivalry has been brewing since last season. They came into Ottawa for two back-to-back games and were manhandled by Brady Tkachuk and company. Also, were outscored 12-3 in those two games. Shortly after, Detroit sold at the deadline and fell out of the playoff race. It left a bitter taste with an upcoming Detroit squad and their fans. Saturday was nothing short of rivalry hockey, with everyone finishing their hits, making good plays, and even a fight between Ottawa Senators captain Tkachuk and Michael Rasmussen.

The Senators and Red Wings are both young teams looking to break out of their playoff droughts. After years of being in slums of the standings, drafting high-end players, waiting for them to develop, and seeing players get sold at the deadline every year, both teams look ready to make some noise. Unfortunately, that has them pinned against each other. Most likely one will lose their potential playoff spot to the other this season and neither team wants to be the one on the outside looking in.

Main Photo: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports


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