Morning Skate: Red Wings at Canadiens
7:00p ET, Bell Centre
TV: Fox Sports, NHL Network in the US. CBC, RDS in Canada
Radio: AM 1270
Canadiens Blog: Habs Eyes On The Prize
Don't look now, but the Wings have put together a four game win streak, have won seven of their last ten games, and have earned at least one point in eight of their last ten games. They haven't all been pretty wins *cough* last night *cough* but they're getting the job done. When we're the most desperate for points and our backs are up against the wall, when the pressure is on to fight out way into the playoffs, this team and coaches have somehow managed to grab themselves by the hockey pants and elevate their play and determination to get the job done. This determination, mental fortitude, teamwork, and great coaching are what separates the diamonds from the rubble.
Tonight there's more pressure when we take on the 3rd best team (based on points) in the Eastern conference. The Habs also played last night and put the Senators to shame. Montreal went down 0-3 in the 1st period, only to come back and score 7 goals in a row. Pacioretti with 3 goals and 2 assists and Thomas Vanek with 3 assists.
Getting Datsyuk back is a big boost to the team, but everyone has to continue to play their danglies off, and I'm proud of the team for not crumbling, losing hope, doubting each other *cough* Toronto *cough*, and the incredible job Babcock is doing to keep this team going in the right direction. The Wings let themselves get sloppy and cute (a case of cute-itis accourding to Babcock) after the 1st period against Buffalo, and that had better be a reality check for them. That crap won't fly tonight against the Habs. Both teams played last night, both teams won, both goalies will be fresh after having the night off.
There are five games left and ten regulation points up for grabs. Chicago did us a favor and beat Columbus last night with four seconds left in regulation and the Jackets are off tonight, while the Leafs play the Jets. The Wings may have a 95.4% chance of making the playoffs, but there's no room to give up points.
Capere, ludum boys!
The Expected Lineup
|Johan Franzen||David Legwand||Gustav Nyquist|
|Justin Abdelkader||Pavel Datsyuk||Daniel Alfredsson|
|Tomas Tatar||Riley Sheahan||Tomas Jurco|
|Drew Miller||Darren Helm||Luke Glendening|
|Niklas Kronwall||Brendan Smith|
|Kyle Quincey||Danny DeKeyser|
|Brian Lashoff||Jakub Kindl|
|Jonas Gustavsson (starting)|
Scratches: Joakim Andersson & Todd Bertuzzi
Injuries: Jonathan Ericsson (finger), Daniel Cleary (knee), Stephen Weiss (groin), Henrik Zetterberg (back), & Mikael Samuelsson (alien abduction)
|Canadiens||THE MATCH-UP||RED WINGS|
|44-27-7 (95 pts; 2nd in Atlantic)||Record||37-26-14 (88 pts; 1st in WC Race)|
|2.58 (20th in NHL)||Goals Per Game||2.64 (18th in NHL)|
|2.47 (10th)||Goals Against Per Game||2.71 (18th)|
|17.8% (18th)||Power Play %||17.8% (17th)|
|85.9% (3rd)||Penalty Kill %||83.2% (11th)|
|Max Pacioretty (38 goals)||Goal Leader||Gustav Nyquist (28 goals)|
|Max Pacioretty (59 points)||Points Leader||Henrik Zetterberg (48 points)|
Player to Fear: Max "U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!" Pacioretty. He had a five point game last night in Montreal's 7-4 win over Ottawa (suck it Sens), scoring a hat trick and notching two assists as well. He's good, and he's hot right now.
X-Factor: Carey Price had the night off last night so he'll be rested and ready to put his .925 SV% to the test tonight.
Familiar Faces: Assistant Coach Gerard Gallant was drafted by the Wings and played 9 for them for 9 years. He also coached Tomas Jurco's St. John Sea Dogs to the Memorial Cup Championship in 2011-2012
Thumbs up (One Thing to Like About Montreal): They made a laughing stock out of Ottawa
Thumbs down (One Thing to Dislike About Montreal): Michel Therrien has always rubbed me the wrong way.
Bullets of Knowledge
- The Red Wings are 203-272-96- (W-L-T-OTL) all-time against the Canadiens.
- Last 10 games: Montreal 8-2-0. Detroit 7-2-1./
- Gustavsson is 5-2-1 with a 2.16 GAA, .918 SV% in 9 career appearances against Montreal/
Prediction: A magical Pavel Datsyuk goal.