Game preview: MTL @ DET
CANADIENS (41-26-7) vs. RED WINGS (33-25-14)
On Thursday night, the Habs will take on the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.
The Canadiens, who are 6-1 in their past seven games, are coming off a 2-0 shutout win against Buffalo. Carey Price earned his fifth whitewash and 30th win of the season while Max Pacioretty scored his 100th career NHL goal. Daniel Briere had the other goal for Montreal.
Meanwhile, the Red Wings, who are 4-2-1 in the same stretch, will attempt to make a final push for a wildcard playoff spot. Mike Babcock’s team lost a 4-2 decision against the Blue Jackets on Tuesday night. Gustav Nyquist scored twice and reached the 25-goal plateau for the first time, but Cam Atkinson moved Columbus ahead for good early in the third period and leading scorer Ryan Johansen completed into an empty net. Jimmy Howard made 24 saves on 27 shots for the loss.
Detroit has been plagued by injuries and bad luck throughout the season. Earlier in the week, it was announced that captain Henrik Zetterberg will most likely miss the rest of the season due to back surgery. Also out for the Wings are Justin Abdelkader, Daniel Cleary, Pavel Datsyuk, Jonathan Ericsson, Tomas Jurco and Stephen Weiss. In the absence of some of the team’s best players, Babcock has had to rely on veterans Niklas Kronwall, who leads all skaters in ice time, and off-season signing Daniel Alfredsson, who is third in team scoring at a ripe 41 years of age. However, the true revelation of the season is forward Gustav Nyquist, who leads the team in goals despite never scoring more than three times in two previous campaigns with Detroit.
Montreal will be playing without Brandon Prust, Dale Weise and Travis Moen. All three forwards, who played on the same line before being sidelined, will be out for at least a week. Weise is expected to miss two to three weeks of play, while Prust is hoping to be 100% for the playoffs.
Closing in on an important milestone is forward Daniel Briere. His next regular season goal will be his 300th since breaking into the NHL.
Thursday’s game will be the third of four season meetings between Montreal and Detroit. The Habs will be looking for their first win at the Joe since November 26 2008. On that night, Carey Price made 32 saves on 33 shots and Tomas Plekanec had the powerplay game-winner in a 3-1 decision.
Puck drop will be at 7:00 PM E.S.T.
Number cruncher – Record keepers
Canadiens sign defenseman Mac Bennett to a two-year contract