NHL

Sens to retire Alfredsson's number ahead of clash with Wings

OTTAWA -- - The atmosphere will be emotionally charged when the Ottawa Senators and Detroit Red Wings face-off at Canadian Tire Centre on Thursday.

Prior to the game, the Senators will raise to the rafters the No. 11 once worn by former captain Daniel Alfredsson, the first player in the team's modern day history to have his jersey retired.

Alfredsson, who spent 17 seasons with the Senators and holds the franchise record in most offensive categories, called it quits after the 2013-14 campaign, his one and only season with the Red Wings.

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Meanwhile, Senators coach Guy Boucher doesn't believe the ceremony will provide extra lift for his team.

"Once the game starts, it's a hockey game," said Boucher. "Our guys can't have more motivation than great motivation. They're really motivated.

"That day is more of a respect day. It's more about being part of it than giving you something extra."

Boucher announced on Wednesday that it will be a "long time" before No. 1 goalie Craig Anderson returns to the team, as he remains with his wife Nicolle while she battles cancer. Backup Mike Condon, who is coming off a shaky start in Tuesday's 4-3 loss to the New York Rangers, will play his 13th consecutive game against the Red Wings.

The Senators (20-12-3) will also be without winger Zack Smith, who suffered an abdominal strain against the Rangers and will miss at least two games. Smith has been on fire of late with four goals and three assists in his last five games.

While the loss to the Rangers stopped Ottawa's winning streak at four games, the Red Wings (15-16-4) have had their own problems.

A third period goal by Sabres winger Evander Kane sent them to a 4-3 defeat on Tuesday, leaving them with a 2-7-1 mark in their last eight.

The Red Wings held their own ceremony prior to that game, as 21 former players from the 1996-97 championship squad were honored.

"We didn't take advantage of opportunities for momentum, so we got to do a better job with that," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill told the Detroit Free Press. "We had a great crowd in here and we didn't take advantage of it."

An area the Red Wings have struggled with all season is the power play, where they are dead last in the league while operating at a 12.5 percent success rate.

While the Senators had a 2-2-1 record against the Red Wings last season, they were schooled by a 5-1 count when the teams met at Joe Louis Arena on Oct. 17. Mike Green, who is expected to miss another week with an upper body injury, had three goals in that game while Darren Helm had the other two.

Ryan Dzingel had the only Ottawa goal. Andrew Hammond, who is sidelined now with a high ankle sprain, stopped just 20 shots while Petr Mrazek made 31 saves in the Detroit goal.

The Senators are now feeling good about their game. On Tuesday, they outshot the Rangers 36-25 and hit four goal posts while searching for the equalizer in the third period.

"The ones that are the toughest are the ones you're

clearly the better team," Boucher said of the loss. "Five-on-five, it wasn't even close."