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

Montreal reaches the second weekend of the season still looking for their first win.

Detroit Red Wings v Montreal Canadiens Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Montreal Canadiens vs. Detroit Red Wings

How to watch

Start time: 7:00 PM EDT / 4:00 PM PDT
In Canada: CityTV (English), TVA Sports (French)
In the Red Wings region: Bally Sports Detroit
Streaming: ESPN+, NHL Live, Sportsnet Now

If the Canadiens planned to prove to Jesperi Kotkaniemi that he made a poor decision by signing his offer sheet with the Carolina Hurricanes and ultimately leaving his original organization, they didn’t offer a very convincing argument by losing the game 4-1. For much of the game, they didn’t look like they had much of a plan at all.

There was one section of the game in which they rolled four lines with possession in the offensive zone throughout, earned a power playm and scored a goal. But that was the only sequence in the game that the Habs looked like they desired the win until the final minutes. There was a flurry of action in Carolina’s zone, and a couple of close calls as time ticked away, but they were already down by two goals at that point, and the gamble for an extra skater resulted in the deficit growing to three.

It was the fourth time the Habs were limited to just one goal to go along with their one goalless outing. Through five game they have no wins, and have scored fewer goals as a team than Anze Kopitar, Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and a player they will face tonight, Tyler Bertuzzi.

Tale of the Tape

Canadiens Statistics Kraken
Canadiens Statistics Kraken
1-5-0 Record 1-4-1
51.6% (14th) Scoring-chances-for % 48.4% (20th)
1.67 (31st) Goals per game 2.17 (26th)
3.33 (21st) Goals against per game 3.83 (27th)
8.7% (31st) PP% 17.7% (21st)
57.1% (29th) PK% 85.7% (10th)
0-0-0 H2H Record 0-0-0

Bertuzzi kicked off his year with a four-goal performance against the defending Stanley Cup champions. The Red Wings’ youth was on display when they surrendered a three-goal lead to the Tampa Bay Lightning with just over six minutes remaining, but still got a point in a 7-6 overtime defeat, and went on to win their next two contests. The result is a spot in third place in the Atlantic Division standings, a promising beginning for a team that used to book a spot in the draft lottery a month into a season.

No teammate is producing at Bertuzzi’s level, but he has enjoyed a supporting cast. There are seven other players with at least three points through four games (or three in Dylan Larkin’s case after serving a suspension). Included in that group are defenceman Moritz Seider, a surprise high first-round pick in 2019 by the organization, and 2020 fourth overall draft selection Lucas Raymond, who netted his first NHL goal on Wednesday night.

The results have been no fluke; some lucky shots against the run of play that you sometimes see from poor teams in the opening weeks. Detroit has a five-on-five expected-goals-for percentage of 55.3%, ranking them seventh in the NHL.

That number for Montreal is 46.5%, and even that is aided by some score effects in games they’ve trailed by several goals. The Canadiens have been a poor five-on-five team this year, a big drop in quality from previous years after significant roster turnover in the off-season, and they can’t say they deserve much better results than what they have.

A win will come they can consistently produce the kind of attack we saw in the second period versus the Hurricanes, when they were fighting for pucks along the boards and looking to create plays in the slot. To this stage, it seems like every player is expecting a teammate to do the hard work, and plays to the middle of the ice have been rare.

The perimeter plays obviously aren’t working, but that hasn’t been addressed by the players or the coaching staff so far, and appears to be actively encouraged on power plays despite the forward talent available. If the Canadiens’ record falls to 0-6 at the end of the game, this discrepancy in how the two teams approach the offence will be a major reason why. It would be a fifth straight loss to the Red Wings after getting swept in the four-game season series back in 2019-20.