By Kyle Larkin
After a busy Tuesday night, the NHL dials it down with two games on Wednesday. Boston and Buffalo is the marquee matchup, because there’s nothing special about that Detroit-Ottawa game, is there?
Ottawa at Detroit
It’s no secret where the big scoop lies in tonight’s matchup. Daniel Alfredsson will square off against his former squad he spent 17 seasons with, 14 of which he donned the “C”. Alfie left for Detroit as an unrestricted free agent in the off-season and has played a big part in helping the Red Wings into second place in the Atlantic behind Toronto. The Senators are hungry for victory after a loss to the Oilers on Saturday as they’re already six points behind Toronto, albeit with two games in hand.
Craig Anderson will start tonight after sitting out Saturday’s game against Edmonton. Anderson is on a personal two-game winning streak during which he’s posted a .937 save percentage. (NHL.com)
Niklas Kronwall makes his return to the blueline after a two-game hiatus thanks to a concussion. His partner Jonathan Ericsson, however, will now miss approximately two weeks with shoulder issues. (Yahoo Sports)
Player to Watch: How do you not go with Daniel Alfredsson? He’s third in team scoring behind Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk and his eight assists leads the team in that category. Facing his former team may provide an extra edge in his game.
Boston at Buffalo
Boston is tied with the NY Rangers and the St. Louis Blues for having played the least amount of games thus far with only seven. The Bruins, with three games in hand, sit just four points behind the Maple Leafs in the division. Buffalo, with only one win on the season through 10 games, will be tasked with a tall order in trying to overcome the Bruins tonight. Though the Sabres are 0-2-1 against division opponents, they’ve arguably saved their best performances for those matchups, losing by just a goal in each game.
Tuukka Rask is continuing his impenetrability this season, boasting an incredible 1.29 GAA and .954 save percentage in seven starts. He gets the nod tonight. (NHL.com)
Interestingly, Buffalo will dress four teenagers (Grigorenko, Girgensons, Ristolainen, Zadorov), the most teens to be dressed for one NHL team in a game since Winnipeg did it in 1996. (NHL.com)
Player to Watch: The 16th overall pick in the 2013 NHL draft, Nikita Zadorov made his NHL debut on Saturday and left a good impression. The hard-nosed Russian will need to use every ounce of his 6-foot-5, 220-pound frame to defend against a pugnacious Bruins squad.