Published November 20, 2014
Dany Heatley will return to Ottawa for the first time as a member of the Wild tonight, as the Senators host Minnesota in the home opener at Scotiabank Place.
Heatley spent four seasons in Ottawa before demanding a trade in the summer of 2009. The Senators dealt the star winger to San Jose before the 2009-10 campaign, but this summer the Sharks traded Heatley to the Wild.
This will mark Heatley's second game in Ottawa since the Sens dealt him in '09. He had an assist in a 2-0 win for the Sharks on Dec. 2 of last season and was booed constantly by the Ottawa faithful.
Overall, Heatley, who began his career with the Atlanta Thrashers, has two goals and five assists in 11 lifetime games against the Senators.
Heatley had a goal and an assist to help Minnesota notch a 4-2 victory in its season and home opener against Columbus, but the 30-year-old was held without a point in a 2-1 road loss to the New York Islanders on Monday.
Josh Harding was available as a backup to Backstrom on Monday and he could get the start tonight. Harding missed the entire 2010-11 campaign after tearing the ACL and MCL in his right knee last September. His last appearance in an NHL tilt came in a start for the Wild on March 26, 2010.
Minnesota's Pierre-Marc Bouchard will sit out the final part of a two-game suspension tonight. The forward was suspended for a high-stick to the face of Columbus' Matt Calvert. Bouchard was given a double minor for the infraction and will be eligible to return for Thursday's home game against Edmonton.
Ottawa, meanwhile, will try to avoid a third straight loss to start the season after turning in a pair of terrible defensive efforts in their first two outings.
The Senators were handed a 5-3 loss when they opened the season in Detroit on Friday and then dropped a 6-5 decision in Toronto the following night.
Craig Anderson, who signed a four-year contract extension with Ottawa at the end of last season, started both games in net for the Sens and surrendered nine goals on 63 shots over those contests.
The rival Maple Leafs used a hat trick and a four-point night from Phil Kessel to down the Senators on Saturday. Ottawa trailed the game by a 4-0 score after two periods, but scored five times in the final frame to make a game of it.
Anderson gave up four goals on 24 shots through two periods. Alex Auld allowed two goals in the third period as the Senators' comeback effort fell short.
"They got that first goal and we just couldn't get back into the game," said Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson. "We just try to do too many things when we're behind."
Alfredsson is battling an illness, but he is expected to play tonight.
Ottawa has won five straight against the Wild and Minnesota's last victory in this series came on March 16, 2004 in St. Paul. The Wild have also dropped their last two tests in Ottawa and have lost three out of four in Canada's capital.