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Canadiens @ Red Wings: Game preview, start time, Tale of the Tape, and how to watch

The Canadiens look to stop the bleeding against the Red Wings as the gap narrows in the wild-card race.

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Detroit Red Wings Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Montreal Canadiens @ Detroit Red Wings

How to watch

Start time: 7:30 PM EST / 4:30 PM PST
In the Canadiens region: TSN2, TSN Direct (English), RDS, RDS Direct (French)
In the Red Wings region: Fox Sports-Detroit+
Elsewhere: / Rogers NHL Live

If the Canadiens were galvanized in any way by allowing six unanswered goals to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night, they certainly didn’t show it Monday against the New Jersey Devils. While the Habs were able to put rubber at Cory Schneider in the Devils’ goal, the team’s effort was, as a whole, lacklustre and unacceptable — as their five high-danger scoring chances at all strengths for the entire game would testify.

Nonetheless, the time for roster adjustments has come and gone with the passing of the trade deadline. The fate of the 2018-19 Canadiens will live and die with the roster before our eyes. These are the individuals who will guide Les Glorieux to the playoffs and beyond ... or crashing back down to Earth.

Tale of the Tape

Canadiens Statistic Red Wings
Canadiens Statistic Red Wings
33-23-7 Record 23-31-9
2-0-0 H2H Record 0-2-0
53.9% (4th) Corsi-for pct. 48.4% (23rd)
2.95 (14th) Goals per game 2.78 (24th)
2.94 (14th) Goals against per game 3.29 (25th)
12.7% (30th) PP% 16.6 (25th)
79.6% (21st) PK% 77.5% (25th)

There is little time for the Canadiens to lick their wounds, as they head from the New Jersey swamp to the shores of the Detroit River. Much like the Devils that they are leaving behind, the Detroit Red Wings are dealing with a less-than-successful campaign. The Habs arrive at Little Caesars Arena to face a team that has lost its last five games, and seven of their last 10, and onen that has just traded their second-leading point-getter, Gustav Nyquist, to the San Jose Sharks. Furthermore, starting goaltender Jimmy Howard has missed their two previous games with an undisclosed illness, and is questionable for Tuesday’s game, leaving Jonathan Bernier, who is 6-15-4 on the year, to potentially suit up against the Canadiens.

As such, once again, we are eminently able to proclaim this game as one the Canadiens should win. But Montreal has had recent difficulties in translating should to did. By all rights, the Habs should have closed out the Maple Leafs after taking a 3-0 lead to the first intermission. The Habs should have defeated a Devils team that traded Keith Kinkaid and Marcus Johansson at the deadline and who were missing key players such as Will Butcher, Pavel Zacha, and Taylor Hall.

Nonetheless, the Canadiens face the stark reality of dropping four points and seeing their advantage over the Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins for the Eastern Conference wild-card positions reduced to a solitary point.

Now, Claude Julien has two decisions to make. The first involves the lineup, and any changes he wants to make to his active roster and/or the composition of his lines. The second, and arguably more important, involves the netminder who will play the Red Wings in this second game of a back-to-back.

The Canadiens have made an effort to limit Carey Price’s minutes this year, and with four back-to-back situations remaining in a crowded home stretch to the season, the logical decision is to start Antti Niemi. But Niemi has struggled mightily in his last three outings (all defeats), culminating on February 17 when he was pulled after 13:57 against the Florida Panthers, having allowed three goals on nine shots.

With the Canadiens hemorraghing points and the playoff race getting too close for comfort, will Julien be tempted to go back to the well and start Price in Detroit? And will that move backfire, given both the poor historical record of goalies who play on back-to-back nights and Price’s issues with injury and fatigue in recent years?

The Canadiens, suffice it to say, have surprised the majority of pundits and fans alike with their performance thus far this season. But with their achievements comes the burden of budding expectations. While certainly not the catastrophic setback that it would be for a team in the middle of their Cup window, the Habs do not want all of their efforts since October to be wasted by a single week in February.

Tuesday night then may be as close to a “must-win” game as the Canadiens have faced this campaign. With a road game against the New York Rangers and a home game against the Penguins immediately preceding their annual west coast road trip, a defeat in the Motor City could be the tipping point that derails what had been a season of such unexpected hope.

Montreal Canadiens projected lineup


Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Tomas Tatar Phillip Danault Brendan Gallagher
Jonathan Drouin Max Domi Andrew Shaw
Paul Byron Jesperi Kotkaniemi Joel Armia
Artturi Lehkonen Nate Thompson Dale Weise


Left Defence Right Defence
Left Defence Right Defence
Jordie Benn Shea Weber
Victor Mete Jeff Petry
Brett Kulak Christian Folin


Carey Price
Antti Niemi

Detroit Red Wings projected lineup


Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Anthony Mantha Dylan Larkin Darren Helm
Tyler Bertuzzi Andreas Athanasiou Filip Zadina
Michael Rasmussen Frans Nielsen Luke Glendening
Justin Abdelkader Jacob de la Rose Luke Witkowski


Left Defence Right Defence
Left Defence Right Defence
Niklas Kronwall Mike Green
Danny DeKeyser Filip Hronek
Madison Bowey Trevor Daley


Jimmy Howard
Jonathan Bernier