Today’s NHL Predictions features the Detroit Red Wings and Ottawa Senators. The two teams sit third and eighth respectively in their division. Currently, the Red Wings have a 14-7-4 record through 25 games. The Senators have an 10-11-0 record through 21 games. These two teams have played twice already and will play each other a total of four times this season. The next game is at the end of January. In the previous two meetings, the Red Wings took one in regulation (5-2). The other the Senators took in overtime at the global series in Sweden (5-4).

NHL Predictions: Detroit Red Wings and Ottawa Senators

Three Keys to Victory

Offense

Both teams are offensively driven. The Red Wings offence, led by Dylan Larkin has averaged 3.84 goals for per game. Tim Stutzle drives the Senators offence. They currently average 3.43 Goals per game, which is good enough to be in the top 10 of the league. In the two games played the Red Wings have outscored the Senators (9-7). In advanced stats the Senators take the edge, they have outproduced the Red Wings 4.31 xGF to 3.42 xGF between both games.

The Red Wings have been a scoring force as of late. Even with advanced stats favouring the Senators, the edge has to go to the Detroit Red Wings who will for sure be lighting the lamp tonight.

Offensive players to watch:

Detroit Red Wings: Alex DeBrincat

You could almost say DeBrincat and Patrick Kane for this one. DeBrincat was dealt to the Red Wings in the off-season feeding more into a brewing rivalry. The offensive winger has only produced one goal in the two games played against his former team. Also, tonight will be his second game with his new teammate Patrick Kane. After both went pointless in Thursday’s game against the San Jose Sharks. DeBrincat will be looking to show Yzerman and Co. that it was a good idea to bring them both into Detroit.

Ottawa Senators: Brady Tkachuk

The Ottawa Senators captain has two goals and three points in two games played against the Red Wings this season. Tkachuk is the type of player that thrives in rivalry games. He loves to play rough and get under the opponent’s skin. There is plenty of reason to believe he will be in the mix of it trying to throw the Red Wings off their game in Motown. Most would expect him to be creating good scoring chances for his team.

Defence

The next key to victory for this NHL Predictions is defence. Like most offensively driven teams, their weakness comes from the backend. This remains true for both of these teams. Currently, the Red Wings average 3.08 goals against per game, and the Senators average 3.29 goals against per game. Advanced stats still favor the Senators, in xGF% they have one of the better percentages in the league averaging more scoring chances for than against. When playing the Red Wings the Senators have done a good job at suffocating their offence. The downside is when their opponents create a chance they usually bury it in the back of their net.

This can be seen in their team save percentage which sits at .893, 9th worst in the NHL. This is a split, the Red Wing’s goaltending gets the edge, but the Senator’s defence beats out the Red wings. The Red Wing’s goaltending has had its number of great games. However, their defense allows too many good chances against per game.

Defensive player to watch

Detroit Red Wings: Alex Lyon

As of right now, Lyon has not been confirmed to be starting, but all signs point to him playing tonight. He is riding a four-game win streak and maintains a .947 save percentage and a 6.30 goals saved above average. This means with the chances that he’s faced in his five games played Lyon should have allowed an additional 6 or more goals if he was playing like an average NHL goaltender.

With every game that passes Lyon seems to make a better and better case to take on more starts. Husso hasn’t been great this season and Reimer ducked out of the way of a shot the last time the Red Wings played the Senators.

Ottawa Senators: Claude Giroux

In the top three of xGF% for the Senators. He has the best face-off win percentage of the team’s primary centers and is almost at a point-per-game pace. A centerman that can create chances at a high level is rare, but a center that also helps shut down the opponent’s chances is far more rare. Giroux is one of those centermen, he benefits this team a lot and if they are going to beat the Red Wings tonight he will for sure be a big reason why.

Personal Game for Both Teams

This game on the NHL predictions has weight to it. The Ottawa Senators after getting off to a blistering start fell off the train tracks falling to the bottom of the division’s standings. They are slowly trying to make their way up and make a playoff push. Beating a division rival that has been having success and manhandling them like they have done before will give the team a lot of morale.

With how last season’s series ended between the two teams the Red Wings have plenty of reasons for this to be a big game. Excluding the emotions and brewing rivalry between the two teams, this will be Kane’s second game with the team. The previous game was a painful overtime loss that came from losing a four-goal lead against one of the league’s worst teams. Starting the Kane era with two losses to two teams sitting much farther down in the standings will be frustrating, to say the least. Also, all Red Wings fans and hockey fans will be curious to see how this team rebounds from the embarrassing loss to the Sharks. With all eyes on them, there will be pressure to bring their A-game tonight. The Senators know this and will bring their best game as well.

Main Photo: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

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