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

Montreal is trying to snap its first skid of the season.

Montreal Canadians v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images

Montreal Canadiens @ Detroit Red Wings

How to watch

Start time: 7:00 PM EDT / 4:00 PM PDT
In Canada: TSN2 (English), RDS (French)
In the Red Wings region: Bally Sports Detroit

Tonight the Canadiens will play at Little Caesars Arena for the second and final time this season. It’s the scene of the only shutout loss Montreal has suffered this year; the only game in the first 12 that both Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield were held pointless.

The Habs seemed unprepared to deal with the size of the Red Wings and were outshot 25-10 in the opening 20 minutes, many of those shots from in close as the defence couldn’t keep Detroit’s forwards away from the crease.

Jake Allen managed to turn every one of those shots aside, and adjustments were made in the intermission to deal with the opponent. Allen only faced 13 more shots the rest of the way, but one from Elmer Soderblom got past him early in the third period, and that was all the offence required with Montreal unable to solve Ville Husso at the other end.

Tale of the Tape

Canadiens Statistics Red Wings
Canadiens Statistics Red Wings
5-6-1 Record 7-3-2
43.9% (24th) Scoring-chances-for % 42.8%
2.83 (25th) Goals per game 3.08 (18th)
3.33 (21st) Goals against per game 2.92 (11th)
15.2% (28th) PP% 20.5% (18th)
77.5% (17th) PK% 82.1% (8th)
0-1-0 H2H Record 1-0-0

As was the case the first time these teams met, this game is the first in a back-to-back set for Montreal, as they head back home to face Vancouver on Wednesday. Allen once more gets the call for the opening match against the divisional opponent, and this time around his team should have a better game plan for the home side.

One of the tactics is to roll back the changes made to the defence pairings for Saturday’s game versus the Vegas Golden Knights. Martin St-Louis may have done too much tinkering on his blue line as he introduced a brand new pairing for Jordan Harris, versus the top team in the NHL no less. The result was the most goals the Habs have allowed this year, and more than a few rough sequences for Harris and especially his partner, Joel Edmundson. Harris is back with Johnny Kovacevic on a duo that has been steady so far this season.

Random stat of the day: MTL’s shooting percentage on high-danger shots: 21.7% (3rd)

Changes had to be made to the forward lines in light of Josh Anderson’s suspension that will span this two-game set. He was taking some reps at centre in Monday’s practice to fill in for the bruised Christian Dvorak, but one of Evgenii Dadonov and Michael Pezzetta will be getting the call to take Anderson’s spot in tonight’s game.

The Red Wings have rattled off three consecutive wins versus the Metropolitan Division and now sit second in the Atlantic. It was clear that Detroit had taken steps forward through the off-season with new player signings, and their top-tier rookies had an entire off-season to address their weaknesses, but second spot in the division wasn’t the projection for this group, and they probably won’t be in this position toward the end of the year. They were going to at least put some pressure on the top teams in the group, and these early banked points, while some of the usual suspects are struggling, will help to keep them competitive.

Detroit also doesn’t face many juggernauts in the month of November (their opponents currently have a cumulative points percentage of .482), so the team is presented with a chance to build up a bit of a cushion heading into the middle of the season.

Solid defensive play is earning them more wins than losses. With plenty of goals being scored around the league, the Red Wings give up fewer than three per game. In order to stay firmly involved in the playoff hunt, they need improved work on the offensive front. They rank among many of the worst teams in the NHL in terms of scoring-chance generation; just 22.5 per 60 minutes when the median value is above 30.

Detroit has its own version of the Suzuki-Caufield duo, and it’s Dylan Larkin and Dominik Kubalik carrying the team through this phase of the season. Kubalik was a non-factor in the Red Wings’ opening game of the season, but he has caught fire with 15 points in the 11 games since, which matches Larkin’s total to date.

If the Habs’ restored defence pairings can contain those two forwards, they could put an end to their three-game losing streak, but Montreal has to know the opposing coach will be giving the exact same lecture in the home dressing room.