Dion Phaneuf set to make Senators debut in Detroit
Ottawa hopes new acquisition will bolster blue-line for playoff push
Defenceman Dion Phaneuf will don a new uniform for the first time in six years as he debuts for the Ottawa Senators against the Detroit Red Wings tonight (7 p.m. ET).
The former captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs was sent to their divisional rival in a nine-player trade on Tuesday and is expected to be in the lineup at Detroit's Joe Louis Arena.
Ottawa hopes its acquisition of the three-time All-Star will bolster its blue-line for a playoff push. The Senators currently sit five points outside of the final wild card spot in the East.
"From our point of view, it's a trade that will give us a little more security on the back end," Ottawa general manager Bryan Murray said.
"[Phaneuf is] a real good person. He competes. He wants to win ... We don't expect him to be a saviour. We expect him to be the player he is."
Coach Dave Cameron plans to start Phaneuf in a comfortable role on the second defensive pairing alongside Cody Ceci.
Phaneuf practised with his new Ottawa Senators teammates for the first time this morning.
Dion Phaneuf is here at Joe Louis Arena for his first practice with the Senators. <a href="https://t.co/8gEAaZQJYq">pic.twitter.com/8gEAaZQJYq</a>—@BradGalli
"I've got nothing but good things to say about my time in Toronto," Phaneuf said after practice.
"I worked as hard as I possibly could for that organization and had great pride playing there, but that changed. I'm an Ottawa Senator and I'm proud to be an Ottawa Senator."
Phaneuf has spent all 11 of his NHL seasons with Canadian-based teams. Calgary drafted him ninth overall in 2003 and traded him to the Leafs in January 2010.
The Senators said Phaneuf would wear jersey number 2 for them. He had number 3 in Toronto, but that belongs to fellow defenceman Marc Methot in Ottawa.
The <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Sens?src=hash">#Sens</a> Store works quick: <a href="https://t.co/1xQBX4TlUp">pic.twitter.com/1xQBX4TlUp</a>—@Senators
"You play against guys, you battle against them, you respect them and a few days later you're in the same room," Phaneuf said. "It's a different situation playing the last game against my new team, but the guys have been great here. They've really welcomed me and I'm really excited to get going."
Sens' scorers come alive
Ottawa hopes for a third consecutive win after its offence exploded in the last two games to outscore opponents 11-2.
Mired in respective eight-game goal droughts, Mark Stone and Curtis Lazar opted to pay it forward by handing $50 to homeless men — and the two received immediate dividends on the ice.
Stone recorded two goals and set up another in Ottawa's 5-1 win over Tampa Bay on Monday, bringing his total to five tallies and three assists since his generous gesture. Lazar tallied twice in the Senators' 6-1 rout of the Maple Leafs on Saturday.
They will come up against Detroit's red-hot goalie Petr Mrazek, who has recorded two shutouts in his last five starts and made 33 saves in the Red Wings' 5-3 win in Canada's capital on Oct. 31.
Craig Anderson will start in goal for Ottawa.
- In addition to Phaneuf, Ottawa received forwards Matt Frattin, Casey Bailey and Ryan Rupert as well as defenceman Cody Donaghey from Toronto for forwards Milan Michalek, Colin Greening, Tobias Lindberg, defenceman Jared Cowen and a second-round pick in the 2017 draft.
- Detroit has scored four power-play goals in the last three games after going 1-for-11 in the previous four.
- The Senators' 74.6 per cent efficiency on the penalty kill is the worst in the league.
With files from SportsDirect Inc.