Snapshots: The Ottawa Senators will face the Detroit Red Wings three times in the next two weeks

Snapshots: The Ottawa Senators will face the Detroit Red Wings three times in the next two weeks

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DETROIT — The Ottawa Senators have another chance to close the gap in the NHL standings Saturday afternoon.

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The Senators are four points behind the Detroit Red Wings in the East table and sit 10 points behind the last wildcard spot. They open up a three-game road trip with a matinee at Little Caesar’s Arena. The Senators have won three times in a row and can build on their season record with a fourth win here. The club will face the Wings three times over the next fortnight and wins are paramount to get back into the playoff race.

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“Anyone can beat anyone any night,” Coach DJ Smith said after the club’s Skate Friday in Ottawa. “They beat a lot of good teams and we need to get off to a really good start. We’re just going to go in there and try to get a win.”

As Smith noted, it’s not just about hitting the wings.

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“Every game is important,” Smith said. “You’re not just against Detroit, you’re against your whole conference, so every game matters. Some are more rivalries than others, whether it’s Montreal, Toronto, or a team like Detroit.

“We’re both young teams going up. Whether it’s Detroit, Minnesota or Winnipeg, we have to get as many points as possible.”


The senators are without a top center Josh Norris and Tim Stutzle along with wingers Matthew Joseph and Tyler moth. blueliner Artem acc and Jacob Bernhard Docker are out too.

Motte was skating on Friday and may be playing in Detroit. He sustained an upper-body injury after taking a hard hit in Monday’s 3-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks, but he’s feeling much better and could pass.

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“It’s good to be back on the ice,” said Motte. “I had a little skate (Thursday) with some of the guys and it’s good to be back out there with the whole group. I feel good enough to play for sure.”

Having Motte back would be a good addition. The club clothed Belleville call-ups Rourke Chartier and Jake Lucchini in the 3-2 home win over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday.

“He can play in all situations,” Smith said of Motte. “He can play in the last minutes (of games), he can play the line-up and he’s a veteran who’s been there.

“The guys did a good job but he gets paid to check and he’s good.”

Motte said he knows injuries make the task harder, but they’re not an excuse.

“It has to be a next-man-up mentality,” said the experienced penalty killer. “You still have to find a way to win games, especially at this time of year. We’re trying to dig our way out of the hole we started in.

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“It really doesn’t matter who’s in the lineup. We have to go out, we have to draw and we have to fight for each other. You have to find a way to win every night.”

That journey continues with a visit to the Minnesota Wild on Sunday and Tuesday in Winnipeg against the Jets. A win against the Wings would return the club to .500 in 30 games of the season.

“We just have to keep getting better,” said Motte. “It starts in Detroit. We know we have five in the next seven days, but you can’t be too far ahead.

“You have to play first and see where you end up after that.”


Norris, who has been out since injuring his left shoulder in October, donned a contact jersey for Skate Friday.

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He hasn’t made the road trip and no one should get too excited as there’s no timeline for his return yet. He will be re-evaluated in January and then a decision will be made.

There’s no question he’s moving in the right direction, but senators are trying to temper everyone’s expectations.

“It’s just to get him into some more practice,” Smith said. “But he’s not cleared to play at this point. He won’t be traveling with us but he’s getting closer to a possible game, but that’s not in the near future.”

Bernard-Docker, who was called up from Belleville in early November, has been out since November 19 with a sprained ankle. He’ll miss his 12th straight game on Saturday and it doesn’t sound like he’ll be playing before Christmas.

“This is the first real training session for him,” Smith said. “We’ll see how he feels, but he’s not ready to play yet.”

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The Senators need to maintain the momentum of their winning streak. “We know we have five games before Christmas and we’re going to push as hard as we can,” Smith said. “What we talked about is just getting back into the pack. There’s a lot of games left and we just want to scrape and scrape and get as many points as we can.” …The Wings can have forwards Dylan Larkin back against the senators. He suffered a hand injury but was out on the ice on Friday. Defender of Detroit Filip Hronek, who received what many assumed was a blow to the head from Minnesota Ryan Reaves Wednesday, Friday was back on the ice. He could run against the senators. There was no discipline for Reaves and many believe it was a clean check… Dallas’ bricklaying march was fined $2,000 by the NHL for beautification on Friday. One incident pointed to for the fine was a center hook penalty Derick Brassard on December 8 against the Stars.

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