How to watch
Start time: 7:00 PM EDT / 4:00 PM PDT
In Canada: CityTV, Sportsnet East (English), TVA Sports (French)
In the Red Wings region: Bally Sports Detroit+
Streaming: ESPN+, NHL Live, RDS Direct, Sportsnet Now, TSN Direct
The Canadiens have enjoyed playing the Red Wings this year. Before their recent run of positive play, their matches versus Detroit were the few strong moments of the opening portion of the season. So far they’ve controlled the matchup, winning two games at the Bell Centre by scores of 6-1 and 3-0.
Tonight, the season series comes to an abrupt end with the only game plyed in Detroit. Unlike the first two, this one will have the Red Wings playing at full strength, with the unvaccinated Tyler Bertuzzi allowed to play the game on his side of the border. The team obviously missed him in Montreal with just the one goal scored, and will likely look like a different team than what we’ve seen so far.
Tale of the Tape
|52.5% (10th)||Scoring-chances-for %||45.9% (27th)|
|2.13 (30th)||Goals per game||2.87 (16th)|
|3.33 (27th)||Goals against per game||3.20 (26th)|
|15.4% (26th)||PP%||16.0% (25th)|
|69.2% (29th)||PK%||74.5% (26th)|
On the road (which included three games without Bertuzzi), the Red Wings average 2.71 goals per game, and give up just under four. At Little Caesars Arena, they score three goals per game and allow just 2.63.
Unsurprisingly for a player who leads the team in points despite missing three games, Bertuzzi also paces the club in points recorded at home. However, it’s not a large lead, because Vladislav Namestnikov has been just about keeping pace, with five goals in eight games. Both are running at a rather absurd 33.3% shooting efficiency, so those scoring rates probably won’t last long, but they could very well survive at least tonight’s game.
The offence has been quite spread out for the Red Wings, with 11 players producing at at least a half-point-per-game pace in home games. By contract the Canadiens have only seven players who sport that mark at home.
Goals is beginning to come for Montreal in more of a trickle rather than a drip. They’ve scored at least two goals in their last eight matches, which isn’t exactly cause for celebration, but is much improved from their October production. They haven’t actually won a game in which they’ve only scored two goals, and more work is required to get up to the league average near three.
Encouraging signs are coming on a power play that looks much more dangerous, actively trying to score goals rather that shifting the puck around the perimeter hoping a lane magically opens up. Thursday’s game was the first all season in which Montreal scored two power-play goals, and one of them (a cheeky little play from Nick Suzuki) stood as the game-winner, the difference between the win and possibly a trip to overtime where the final point can be a coin toss. There’s still work to be done in getting that same type of play to translate to five-on-five, but the template is there to work with, and confidence should be growing for those who are getting their looks on the man advantage.