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Red Wings at Canadiens: Game Day Updates

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Calgary Flames Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Time: 7:00 PM ET

Place: Bell Centre

TV: FSD, Sportsnet, TVS

Radio: 97.1 FM The Ticket, 1270 AM

Canadiens Blog: Eyes on the Prize

The Wings will be getting some needed reinforcements for tonight’s tilt against the Habs, because Marty Frk is coming back in. He’s practicing on a line with Gustav Nyquist and Henrik Zetterberg. That tells me that Blashill is relying on Frk to change the complexion of the lineup and be an impact player tonight.

And that’s not all. Mrazek is getting the nod in net. Fingers crossed for some Mrazzle Dazzle.

That’s it for the good news. Now onto the bad. Jonathan Drouin and Shea Weber both skated this morning and look likely to see action tonight.

Basically what I’m saying is, let’s over-simplify the hell out of this game narrative and reduced it down to Frk and Mrazek vs. Drouin and Weber. If this works for you, then there’s no need to read further. If you want to upgrade your TV-dinner style game report to Kraft Macaroni levels of quality, then read on.

Three Keys to the Game

Get to the Middle: The Red Wings had a lot of success in the first period of Thursday night’s game in streaking pucks past the slow Montreal D-corps on the breakaway. As the game went on, Montreal adjusted and was better able to force Detroit to the outside. Detroit’s speed is one its best offensive assets, so they need to find a way to continually be effective at keeping the Habs defenders honest and off-kilter throughout the full 60 minutes.

Figure out Brendan Gallagher: This guy was a wrecking ball against the Wings on Thursday. He is similar to Wayne Simmonds in the way he can shoot and hit and pass well, and even though he’s not a star in any of those categories, he has lots of options in his toolbox. Detroit needs to keep him to the perimeter and not let him drive the net, where he does the most damage.

Play with Pride: That final period against the Habs on Thursday was a total buzzkill. The Wings did show some pride and desperation, but it only drove them to exert their will over the Habs in the final few minutes. Games like these are linchpin moments in a season. The Wings need to come into the Bell Centre tonight like the season relies on a win. The losing streak has gone too long and the Wings were badly embarrassed by an Original Six rival in their own barn, so the time is now to collect. If they can’t play with pride for a full 60, then Detroit is going to be left in a very precarious position with a lot of questions and few answers.