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Game day Update: Canadiens vs. Red Wings- Updated Projected Lines and Key Match Ups

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NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Montreal Canadiens Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Optional skate today, so assumptive lines are the same as last night until we hear otherwise.

Red Wings Projected Lines and Power Play

Forwards

Tatar-Zetterberg-Mantha

Abdelkader-Nielsen-Glendening

Nyquist-Larkin-Vanek

Ott-Sheahan-Bertuzzi

Defense

DeKeyser-Green

Ericsson-Sproul

Kronwall-Smith

Power Play 1st Unit

Nyquist-Zetterberg-Vanek-Kronwall-Sproul

2nd Unit

Tatar-Nielsen-Larkin-Green-Mantha

Starter

Petr Mrazek

Key Match Ups

Capitalizing On Shots

The Red Wings have struggled to out shoot teams all season long. This may be one of the rare games where they’ll have an opportunity to out shoot their opponent. Yes, the Habs are a good team, but their defense can be exploited. If the Red Wings can get a good forecheck going and sustain pressure in Montreal’s zone, it’ll be a matter of cracking Price. If there’s any way to solve Price (I honestly don’t know if there is right now) using Mantha, Vanek, Abdelkader and Sheahan to create traffic in front might be it. Disrupt his line of vision, make it harder to get east to west, score one off your ass if you have to.

Gallagher and Shaw Go Dumpster Diving

As I talk of the Wings needing a net front presence, conversely, it’ll be a driving factor in Montreal’s offense. With Radulov and the emergence of Paul Byron, there is certainly more speed up front for this year’s improved Canadiens, but their bread and butter can still be made down low. Gallagher has already gone through a slump this season but you can’t expect his slow start to last. He has 7 points in 10 career games vs. the Wings. Mrazek and the Wings defense have especially struggled with traffic. This is where Gallagher and Shaw feast. Look for the two to agitate, create chances and be redirecting more than a couple Shea Weber shots.

No More Need To Panic With Vanek

Getting Vanek back has already paid off, as he had a beautiful set up for Nyquist against Buffalo. He seems to be the only player that gives the power play an edge and some even strength balance, as both his ability to work low with the extra man has sustained pressure and opened up shots, and vision has moved the puck well through the neutral zone. Vanek and Nyquist were the most consistent combination we’ve seen so far this season, they we’re paired together through out the first eight games. Seeing no.62 has been reassuring. Not sure if he improves the Wings that much overall but he at least makes them more fun to watch.

Montreal’s Speed Down Low, Power Up High

The Canadiens still play dump and chase from time to time, but catering to Radulov, they’ve been aggressive more often. Expect Montreal to use their speed through the neutral zone more often and move the puck off the wing entering the zone. This stems from Galchenyuk being given more responsibility carrying the puck, and Pacioretty finally given the green light to use his size gaining and maintaining the offensive zone. Once Montreal sustains the zone, they’ll be setting up shop for Weber, Petry and Markov who have all been using their heavy point shots to create goals.

Tired Legs, Will Travel

The Wings have an interesting scheduling hiccup having to play back to back with travel from the east coast. Mrazek was expected to come in rested but had to play nearly the entire game due to Howard leaving early with an injury. The Habs come in relatively fresh with a couple days off. Travel hasn’t affected the Wings positively or negatively yet this young season—they’ve been mediocre either way, but travel against a good team like Montreal could hurt them. It’ll be important to “start on time” as our ol’ pal Mike Babcock used to say.