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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Pregame Preview: Canadiens vs Red Wings (Game #79)

montreal canadiens vs detroit red wings nhl 
Match Up:

The Canadiens (44-27-7) return to the Bell Centre Saturday night to host the Red Wings (37-26-14) after finishing up a 4-game road trip Friday in Ottawa. The game starts at 7:00 and airs on RDS and CBC.

This is the fourth and final game between the Habs and Wings this season. The Canadiens earned their first win and their third point against Detroit the last time these teams met in a wild 5-4 victory. Tomas Tatar and Tomas Plekanec each had a pair of goals in the game while Thomas Vanek picked up the game winning goal and added 2 assists.

What to Watch:

Max Pacioretty popped in 3 goals and a pair of assists against the Senators Friday, bringing him up to 38 goals and 59 points on the season despite missing 9 games with injury. Pacioretty is 4th in the league in goals behind Alex Ovechkin (49), Corey Perry (41) and Joe Pavelski (39). Thomas Vanek had himself a 3-point night in Ottawa, giving him 9 points in his last 5 games and 14 points in the 14 games he's been with the Habs.

PK Subban was -3 with no points against the Senators, playing a season low 13:39. His previous season low came the game before when the Habs played the Lightning on Tuesday.

Gustav Nyquist's scoring streak came to an end at 10 games last night when the Wings beat the Sabres 3-2. Over that 10-game span Nyquist had 12 goals and 2 assists, but was held to just 1 assist when the Wings and Habs last met. Daniel Alfredsson had a goal and an assist last night bringing him up to 4 points in his last 3 games.

What's at Stake:

The Canadiens moved two points ahead of the Lightning with their win in Ottawa, but the Bolts hold the game in hand. The race for second in the Atlantic and home-ice advantage could go right to the wire so every point counts with four games remaining. The Red Wings have 5 games to play and are comfortably holding down the first of two Eastern Wild Card spots. While they're currently the 7th seed, the Wings are actually 6th in points in the East, so they would need to be passed by the Flyers, Blue Jackets and either the Leafs, Devils or Capitals to fall out of a playoff spot.

Who's Out:

Douglas Murray serves the second game of his 3-game suspension Saturday night, he'll be available for duty when the Habs face the Islanders next Thursday. Josh Gorges (hand) is getting close to a return but won't be in the lineup Saturday. Dale Weise (wrist), Travis Moen (concussion) and Brandon Prust (upper body) are also out.

For the Wings, Henrik Zetterberg (back) is out for the regular season but is aiming to return during the first round of the playoffs. Stephen Weiss (hernia) is out along with Jonathan Ericsson (hand) and Dan Clearly (knee).

What Else:

At 95 points, the Habs have 4 games remaining to break 100 points for just the second time since they won the Cup in 1993. The only other time since then that the Habs broke 100 was during the 2007-08 season when they finished atop the Eastern Conference with 104 points. Max Pacioretty meanwhile has a chance to become the Canadiens first 40-goal scorer since Vincent Damphousse netted 40 in the 1993-94 season.

The Question Mark:

What can PK Subban do to earn more ice-time and responsibility from Michel Therrrien?

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.

3 comments:

In regards to your question, hasn't P.K. already earned back that responsibility? I am having a hard time accepting those projected lineups. His first period play was obviously horrendous and he was punished for it, but his tenacity picked up a lot in those last two periods. Sure, he didn't put up any numbers, but his 2nd and 3rd period TOI was pretty routine as a result.

PK shouldn't have been blamed for the 2nd goal Tinordi made the weak clearing play...not much PK could do...the scrutiny he his jeld too is ridiculous and may cost the Habs another stud D man.

Tinordi's weak defense will haunt us in the playoffs, he is a mistake machine.If we lose in Round One again, and since they will have a really low draft pick, Timmns better find sonme diamonds in the rough.

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