The Canadiens are coming off a win against the Ottawa Senators that put another nail in the Sens' playoff hopes. Ottawa isn't mathematically eliminated, but they're eliminated.
Montreal showed their strengths - a dominating number one line, ability to draw penalties through agitation, and overall team speed - and weaknesses - frightening bench management and overreliance on one line. Ottawa couldn't exploit them, but you have to worry against teams with more astute coaching catching on, especially in the playoffs.
I don't want to put a damper on Max Pacioretty's first inevitable 40 goal season (the first by a Canadien in 20 years), but I do fear putting too much faith on that line rescuing a team from a bad start. Pacioretty was fantastic against the Sens and his second period breakaway goal was highlight reel stuff, but the Habs managed just four shots in that period. Luckily they played a team that had a sub .700 save percentage.
I counted out Detroit last time the Canadiens faced them because the Canadiens scored early and Detroit was reeling from injuries. But that game, as now, they look very much like a team that will record its 23rd straight appearance in the playoffs. While the Red Wings aren't quite at full strength yet, they do have Datsyuk, Alfredsson, and Abdelkader back in the fold. That's a nice complement to the young Wings who are already contributing in Detroit - Nyquist, Jurco, Tatar, and Sheahan.
No idea whether Rene Bourque finds his way back into the line-up for the Canadiens. He played a season low 7+ minutes against the Lightning - after he complained publicly about ice time - and then found himself benched against Ottawa. Additionally Therrien benched P.K, Subban for the majority of the first period against Ottawa. Is it the right time to make examples of players? Are these the right players to make examples of?
In net, Carey Price est le gardien pour Montreal et Le Monstre est le gardien pour Detroit.
Tale of the tape
Puck drop is at 7 PM EST/9:30 PM in Newfoundland
Let's be clear - it's terrifically difficult at this point to project or predict a Therrien line-up, this projection is based on Therrien's usage of the aggrieved parties in last night's game. The Bouillon-Weaver pairing led the team in ice time.
|Max Pacioretty||David Desharnais||Thomas Vanek|
|Alex Galchenyuk||Tomas Plekanec||Brendan Gallagher|
|Lars Eller||Danny Briere||Brian Gionta|
|Rene Bourque||Ryan White||Michael Bournival|
|Francis Bouillon||Mike Weaver|
|Andrei Markov||Alexei Emelin|
|Jarred Tinordi||P.K. Subban|
Unavailable: Douglas Murray (suspended - 2 games and counting)
Scratches: Nathan Beaulieu, George Parros
As for the Red Wings
|Johan Franzen||David Legwand||Gustav Nyquist|
|Justin Abdelkader||Pavel Datsyuk||Daniel Alfredsson|
|Tomas Tatar||Riley Sheahan||Tomas Jurco|
|Drew Miller||Luke Glendening||Darren Helm|
|Niklas Kronwall||Brendan Smith|
|Kyle Quincey||Dan Dekeyser|
|Jakub Kindl||Brian Lashoff|
Scratches: Joakim Andersson, Todd Bertuzzi
Check out the opposing side at Winging It In Motown