|Senators, Wings meet in Atlantic Division battle|
The Ottawa Senators prepare to visit the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday not knowing if they'll face goaltender Jimmy Howard or Jonathan Bernier.
That's because Howard has struggled this season to recapture the form that earned him a trip to the NHL All-Star Game last season. He has a 2-8-1 record and a subpar save percentage of .884.
"I have to be better, try and make every save you're supposed to make and then mix in one or two you're not supposed to make just to give these guys confidence, give them a chance to win every single night," Howard told NHL.com.
Bernier started four consecutive games during the past two weeks, going 3-0-1, after the two goalies essentially had platooned on a game-by-game basis. Howard returned to the lineup for Saturday's 4-3 shootout loss to San Jose.
"It's hard for me to pinpoint one thing. I would just say I think it's a short-term thing, it's not like it's been 100 games," coach Jeff Blashill said of Howard's season. "Probably 10 games or whatever, it just didn't go as well -- really for either guy, for a stretch there as they would have liked and as we would have liked."
The Wings have collected at least one point in the last five games (3-0-2), as all three of their contests during last week's West Coast swing required overtime.
"Going out to the West Coast and getting four out of six points, it could have been six out of six points, we just have to continue the strong play and hopefully the points keep coming for us," Howard said.
The Wings have gotten a boost from forward Robby Fabbri, who has six points in the last five games since being acquired from St. Louis and has given the team's second line a jolt.
"You can see it's definitely been good since he's been here," linemate Andreas Athanasiou told NHL.com. "Just playing with him, it's been getting better every game, every shift. He's obviously a highly skilled forward, he knows how to make plays, so I think he suits perfectly with Fil (Valtteri Filppula) and me."
Detroit will look to avenge a 5-2 loss at Ottawa on Oct. 23. Ottawa forward Anthony Duclair scored two goals and Anders Nilsson made 34 saves in the Senators' victory.
Ottawa lost at Buffalo 4-2 on Saturday after recording back-to-back wins over New Jersey (4-2) and Philadelphia (2-1).
Duclair scored his seventh goal of the season against the Sabres but the Senators couldn't overcome Jack Eichel's four-goal night.
"We did just enough to be competitive, but we didn't quite do enough to take control of that game," Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki said. "Unfortunately for us in this season, the way it's going, that doesn't end up being enough."
Craig Anderson got the start in goal and made 28 saves but Eichel's career night prevented Ottawa from reaching the .500 mark. The Senators and Wings enter their matchup tied for seventh in the Atlantic Division with 17 points.
"That's what special players do sometimes," coach D.J. Smith said. "I thought Andy was really good; those are big-time goals that he scored."
--Field Level Media