The Detroit Red Wings have adjusted well to life as an Eastern Conference team - and it only gets better Wednesday as they entertain the Ottawa Senators.
Detroit has beaten the Senators four straight times, outscoring them 19-11 along the way. The Red Wings are coming off back-to-back losses to the Phoenix Coyotes and San Jose Sharks, while the Senators also are looking to turn things around after falling 3-1 to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.
Wednesday marks Red Wings forward Daniel Alfredsson's first game against his former team. The veteran Swedish star logged 1,178 games with the Senators, establishing franchise records with 426 goals and 682 assists before departing for Detroit as a free agent this past offseason. The Senators are off to a sluggish start without their former captain but have fared well against the East so far this season, earning five of a possible six points.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, TSN, TVA (Ottawa), FSN (Detroit)
ABOUT THE SENATORS (3-3-2): Ottawa players know that facing Alfredsson for the first time as an adversary gives Wednesday's tilt more significance than a normal regular-season game.
"You're used to seeing one guy move on and play a different team and play against teammates he played with," captain Jason Spezza told the Ottawa Sun. "It will be different because it's Alfie, but I think it will be harder for him because he's playing against Ottawa and because it's the only place he ever played."
ABOUT THE RED WINGS (6-3-1): There may not be a goaltending controversy brewing in the Motor City yet, but the backup has outperformed the starter through the opening 10 games of the season. Jonas Gustavsson earned three victories in a four-day span last week but has ceded the job back to Jimmy Howard, who responded by allowing six goals in two games. Howard is 3-0-0 with a 3.00 goals-against average in his career against the Senators, while Gustavsson - formerly of Toronto - is just 2-3-0 but has a 1.98 GAA.
1. Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg has two goals, 10 assists and a plus-7 rating in nine career games against the Senators.
2. The Senators' last win in the head-to-head series came on Jan. 12, 2008, when Alfredsson scored two goals - including the game-winner with 2:56 remaining - in a 3-2 triumph in Ottawa.
3. Senators coach Paul MacLean formerly served as an assistant under Detroit's Mike Babcock.