Red Wings at Canadiens Line Combinations, Gameday Updates, Key Matchups

After last night's 57-minute cruise with Buffalo that ended with three minutes of terror, the Wings are back at it tonight in Montreal. Jeff Blashill declined to name a starter for tonight after that game, but we got confirmation today that Mrazek is your starter. Howard mostly did a pretty good job with limited testing, but he also let in a couple late goals that made the game close. You can talk endlessly in the comments about how at-fault he was for both (kind of on the first and not really on the second), but the point is that there's not really a "go with the hot hand" consideration coming into this one that would really compel Blashill to start Howard again.

And with us being in the late season, you can guess whether they had a full morning practice:

You can't see in the pic, but it's basically all the scratches skating: Smith, Pulkkinen, and Jurco were out there with the goalies.

Line Combinations


Justin Abdelkader Henrik Zetterberg Dylan Larkin
Darren Helm Pavel Datsyuk Anthony Mantha
Tomas Tatar Riley Sheahan Gustav Nyquist
Andreas Athanasiou Luke Glendening Brad Richards


Danny DeKeyser Kyle Quincey
Niklas Kronwall Alexey Marchenko
Jonathan Ericsson Mike Green


Petr Mrazek (starting)
Jimmy Howard

Power Play units:

  1. Nyquist-Zetterberg-Larkin, Abdelkader (net front), Kronwall
  2. Tatar-Datsyuk-Mantha (net front), Richards, Green

Canadiens Line Combinations


Max Pacioretty Alex Galchenyuk Paul Byron
Lars Eller Tomas Plekanec Torrey Mitchell
Philip Danault David Desharnais Sven Andrighetto
Jacob De La Rose Michael McCarron Mike Brown


Andrei Markov Alexei Emelin
Nathan Beaulieu Greg Pateryn
Joel Hanley Darren Dietz (Nuts)


Ben Scrivens (starting)
Mike Condon

Keys to the Game:

Score enough so Blashill will let the kids play in the third period

Andreas Athanasiou is more fun to watch than Luke Glendening, but Jeff Blashill won't give him as much time unless the Red Wings are losing. Tonight I'd like to try out winning by a bunch so I get to see more Athanasiou and Mantha in the third period. It's better than the alternative.

Keep your emotions in check, but don't check them out

I was way wrong about thinking the Wings would have more PKs than power plays the last time they played the Canadiens. I'm going to say it'll happen tonight though because this game is in Montreal. Justin Abdelkader has been taking a lot of stupid frustrated penalties lately and he already built up a bit of history in the last meeting of these two teams. The key is that you're supposed to make them mad and do dumb things without doing it yourself. Kirk Maltby was good at that.

Play the tighter, lower-event style again.

The start of the game against Buffalo didn't look very good, but they were playing a team that wasn't very good. Montreal is just two points ahead of Buffalo right now, so it's not like they're that much better. The Canadiens aren't really a push-the-pace kind of team, but if they want to play like that, Detroit can't let them. Tonight will be about using what feels like the early-game boost many teams get from having played the night before and then metering out the energy to make sure there's enough to finish.

Fun Facts!

  • Last night's games (including Detroit's win) officially eliminated Canada's chances of having a team in one of their cities playing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This hasn't happened in 40 years.
  • Many Canadians will tell you this does not bother them because there are Canadian-born players on all 30 NHL teams and they still make up the majority of league players.
  • This is a good point and it fills me with warmth that our American cities can help Canadians realize their lifelong dream of bringing the Stanley Cup back to Canada so it can visit temporarily. It's like going back to your childhood home where you formed all those loving memories of where you came from before realizing that the town was always kind of a shithole that you made idyllic in your own head because you were a kid and kids are dumb about how they remember things.
  • This is the point where most of you have already said in your head "the cup resides in the Hall of Fame for most of the year and that's in Toronto, you idiot."
  • I hope Michel Therrien coaches the Habs forever.