Red Wings vs. Senators: It’s Personal

(Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

What a start to the 2023-24 season it’s been for the Detroit Red Wings. The team is currently 3-1-0 and has the NHL’s leader in points.

After dropping the season opener 3-4 on the road against a very good Devils team, Detroit has won three straight.

The Red Wings won their home opener 6-4 against Tampa Bay, then they traveled to Columbus, Ohio, where former Michigan Wolverines shined in a 4-0 beat down as the Wings dominated the Blue Jackets. On Wednesday, the Red Wings continued their winning ways with a 6-3 victory over a solid Pittsburgh Penguins team.

Next up, the Ottawa Senators, and after last season, this game is personal.

Why Saturday’s Game is Personal:

Credit: ESPN

The Detroit Red Wings were still fighting for their playoff lives on the first day of April last season. It was April Fools Day, and the Red Wings indeed looked like fools on the ice, losing to the Senators 5-2. Brady Tkachuk added salt to the wound by trash-talking and backing it up. Tkachuk, on multiple occasions, even mocked the Red Wings bench. The Red Wings weren’t defending themselves until they met up again on April 3rd, and Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin took a penalty to deliver a big hit on Brady Tkachuk. Frustrations were building as the Red Wings were once again being dominated by the Senators, and when Larkin had enough, Tkachuk was an easy target.

Red Wings’ captain Dylan Larkin delivers a hit on Senator’s captain Brady Tkachuk.

The Detroit Red Wings lost that game 5-2 as well.

After Tkachuk’s actions and being embarrassed on the scoreboard, this game Saturday afternoon is personal for Detroit.

The Detroit Red Wings Are Standing Their Ground This Season

(Photo by Jason Mowry/Getty Images)

Steve Yzerman’s off-season additions have been flexing their muscle this season. The new players representing the winged wheel in 2023-24 have been responsible for nine of the teams’ 19 goals. Former Ottawa Senator Alex DeBrincat, by far the biggest acquisition for Detroit in the off-season, leads the NHL in points with five goals and three assists. The new guys haven’t just helped by getting pucks in the net, though. They have given Detroit more size. The Red Wings have been dishing out punishment rather than being on the receiving end. Lucas Raymond sent a Tampa Bay Lightning player flying into the Red Wings bench, Mo Seider has not backed down from any challenges, Dylan Larkin dropped the gloves against Pittsburgh, and Klim Kostin, who has the potential to be a steal for the Wings, made a huge open-ice hit on Cole Sillinger that led to Kostin and Erik Gudbranson dropping the gloves in Columbus. It was a fantastic scrap with Klim Kostin landing multiple big right hands as well as Gudbranson landing a solid shot too. Although Tyler Bertuzzi never backed down from a fight, it’s been a long time since the Red Wings have had someone who can handle themselves, as well as Kostin, in a fight. Detroit’s not a team that’s going to be pushed around this season. Kostin wasn’t the only guy with good size that was added during the off-season. Ottawa is going to get a much better and much more physical Red Wings team on Saturday.

Alex DeBrincat Returns to Ottawa

Credit: NHL Trade Rumors

In July of 2022, the Ottawa Senators acquired Michigan native Alex DeBrincat in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks. As you know, DeBrincat called Ottawa home for just one season. He played in all 82 games last season and scored 27 goals, and had 39 assists for 66 points. DeBrincat didn’t quite perform as well as some thought he would. After all, he did have two 41-goal seasons with Chicago. Despite not completely living up to expectations, DeBrincat still played very well, and when he became available via trade, he instantly became one of the better players on the market during the off-season. After weeks of speculation, the Red Wings pulled the trigger and brought Alex DeBrincat home in a trade with the Senators. The Red Wings traded F Dominik Kubalik, D Donovan Sebrango, a conditional 2024 first-round pick, and a 2024 fourth-round pick in exchange for DeBrincat.

This will be Dominik Kubalik’s first game against his former team after the trade. He signed with the Wings prior to last season. For Detroit last season, Kubalik scored 20 goals and had 25 assists for a total of 45 points. He has yet to score for Ottawa this season, though.

Wrap-Up

This should be a very fun match-up. Both teams are 3-1-0 and are first and second in their division. Expect a very physical game, with each team trading blows on the scoreboard and potentially with their fists if the rivalry continues to be heated. Both teams have lethal goal scorers and game changers, and both teams have playoff aspirations. There will be two guys looking to make their old team pay for trading them as well. All signs point to this being a thrilling match-up.

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