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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Pregame Preview: Canadiens at Red Wings (Game #75)

montreal canadiens vs detroit red wings nhl
Match Up:

The Canadiens (41-26-7) look to extend their win streak Thursday night when they face the Red Wings (33-25-14) at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. The game is set to start at 7:00 and airs on RDS and TSN.

This is the third of four meetings between the Habs and Wings, the Canadiens will host Detroit at the Bell Centre next Saturday to complete the series. The Habs are still looking for their first win against the Wings, they've lost 4-1 and 2-1 in OT. Gustav Nyquist has a pair of goals, including the OT winner last time these teams met, and an assist so far against the Canadiens.

What to Watch:

Max Pacioretty picked up his 100th career goal on Tuesday, and his ninth game winner on the season in Montreal's 2-0 victory over Buffalo. Carey Price earned victory number 30 on the season and shutout number 5. It's only the second time in his career Price has reached the 30-win mark, although he did pick up 21 wins in 39 games during the lockout shortened campaign last season.

With 7 points in 11 games, trade deadline acquisition, David Legwand, has been a boost to the Red Wings line up. Gustav Nyquist is certainly the player to watch on Detroit, he's in the midst of a 6-game point streak with 9 goals and an assist over that span.

What's at Stake:

The Canadiens have a two-point lead over the Lightning for second place in the Atlantic division, but they've also played two more games than Tampa. Meanwhile Detroit, at 80 points on the season, is stuck in a 4-way tie for the two Wild Card playoff spots in the East with Columbus, Washington and Toronto.

Who's Out:

The Canadiens will be without Brandon Prust (upper body), Josh Gorges (hand) and Dale Weise (wrist) for much of the rest of the season and possibly beyond. Travis Moen is suffering from concussion-like symptoms and did not travel with the team either.

The Red Wings are among the most beat up teams in the league missing 6 roster players for tonight's game. Henrik Zetterberg (back) will miss the remainder of the season, Stephen Weiss (hernia) hasn't played since December and is not close to a return. Justin Abdelkader (leg), Jonathan Ericsson (finger), Daniel Cleary (knee) and Mikael Samuelsson (shoulder) are all out, as is last year's point leader for the Wings, Pavel Datsyuk (knee). One bright spot for Detroit is the expected return of Tomas Jurco to face the Habs tonight.

What Else:

This is the start of a 4-game road trip for the Habs, they play 5 of their last 8 on the road. The Canadiens have a fairly balanced record both home and away, going 21-12-5 at the Bell Centre and 20-14-2 away from it. In two more home games the Habs have scored just 6 more goals at home then on the road, and have exactly 24 goals for both home and away. The glaring difference for the Canadiens away from home is that they've given up 97 goals compared to just 84 in Montreal.

The Question Mark:

Today's question is a tough one: If a win tonight meant home ice in the first round but a loss meant the Leafs would miss the playoffs, which do you want more?

Let us know what you think, leave us a comment or send us a tweet with the #MTLHockey hashtag on Twitter.

Be sure to tune into the Montreal Hockey Talk Pregame Show an hour before the puck drop and the Post Game Show 5 minutes after the final siren. Join the live conversation by using the #MTLHockey hashtag on Twitter.

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