Senators-Red Wings Preview

The Associated Press

Daniel Alfredsson might be healthy for his much-anticipated return to Ottawa next week, but it seems unlikely he'll face his former team at home this weekend.

The Detroit forward could miss a fifth consecutive game Saturday night as the Red Wings try to build on their first win in almost three weeks and hand the Senators a fourth straight defeat.

Alfredsson, who left Ottawa after 17 seasons as the franchise's all-time leading scorer to sign with Detroit (10-6-7) in July, recorded two shots but no points during the Red Wings' 6-1 home loss to the Senators on Oct. 23.

Even with Detroit honoring Alfredsson with his own bobblehead night Saturday, it appears a groin injury will keep him out of action. Though Alfredsson is skating, he's not likely to return for about a week, meaning he could play when the Red Wings visit Ottawa on Dec. 1.

He's third on the team with 14 points (three goals, 11 assists) in 19 games.

Forward Stephen Weiss, who signed with the Red Wings during the offseason, also is dealing with a groin injury that could keep him out of a seventh straight contest.

Detroit, meanwhile, looks to keep heading in a positive direction after snapping an 0-2-5 slide with a 4-3 win over Carolina on Thursday.

"Obviously we needed the win," said coach Mike Babcock, whose team lost twice in overtime and three times in a shootout during the skid. "It was a good win for us. There were a lot of positives."

Called up earlier in the day from the team's AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids, Gustav Nyquist scored twice in his season debut. One of Detroit's best forwards during training camp, Nyquist started the season in the AHL because of salary cap reasons but could stick with the team after defenseman Danny DeKeyser suffered a shoulder injury during Tuesday's 2-0 loss to Nashville.

"We'll see, we'll see what happens here," said Nyquist, who had six goals, including the playoffs, the past two seasons for Detroit. "Obviously this is where I want to play and I want to be a part of this team and hopefully we'll be able to work that out."

Nyquist and the Red Wings hope for a better effort this time against the Senators (8-10-4), who jumped out to a 3-0 first-period lead last month en route to snapping a four-game losing streak to Detroit.

Ottawa, however, has been outscored 13-6 while dropping three in row.

Mika Zibanejad had a goal with an assist as the Senators held a 37-25 shot advantage Wednesday, but could not hold a pair of one-goal first period leads in a 4-3 loss to Minnesota. Ottawa tied the game in the third before Mikko Koivu scored the winner with 2:57 left.

"On a positive side of it, we look at the stat sheet, and the balance (shots on goal) is starting to go the other way. So that's a positive for us," coach Paul MacLean said. "Are we going in the right direction? We believe so, but we won't know until our next game.

"We better be ready, after our last visit there I know that. It doesn't matter how their playing going in or how you're playing going in, it's going to be a fun night."

Ottawa stars Jason Spezza and Bobby Ryan each scored twice at Detroit last month but Spezza has two goals and Ryan four in 13 games since then.

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