Red Wings-Canadiens Preview
After holding on for a win in their latest game, the Detroit Red Wings can move into playoff position in the Eastern Conference by earning at least one point Tuesday night.
Of course, they would like to get two but will have to snap their road losing streak against the scuffling Montreal Canadiens to accomplish that goal.
Detroit (38-27-11) nearly squandered a three-goal lead in the final three minutes Monday against lowly Buffalo but came away with a much-needed 3-2 victory.
"I think the whole game was a team effort. I think everyone was selling out for the team. It's just part of what we have to do," said forward Luke Glendening, whose team was routed 7-2 by Pittsburgh on Saturday. "It might have been shaky at the end here, but we still got the two points. So we'll take it."
The Red Wings remained tied with Philadelphia on 87 points as they vie for the East's final playoff berth after the Flyers won 3-2 in overtime against Winnipeg.
Philadelphia will have two games in hand on Detroit after resting Tuesday. The Red Wings will try to get the jump on the idle Flyers as they face another eliminated team in Montreal (34-36-6) and move closer toward adding to their 24-year streak of playoff appearances - the longest among the four major North American professional sports leagues.
"As long as we take care of ourselves, we'll be all right," goaltender Jimmy Howard said.
Detroit also needed to hold on for a 4-3 win over the visiting Canadiens on Thursday after giving up three goals in the first eight minutes of the third period. Montreal's poor start to that contest is part of a 2-6-0 stretch in which they have been outscored 31-15 and sorely missed star defenseman P.K. Subban (neck).
"It's never fun losing. It's not the position we want to be in," forward Lars Eller said. "It's not fun not having the playoffs to look forward to."
The Canadiens have been outscored 20-9 while dropping four of five at home but have won four straight there over Detroit. The latest, however, was a 4-1 victory Oct. 17 when Carey Price was still healthy.
Montreal was 17-4-2 when its star goaltender injured his leg Nov. 25 against the New York Rangers. The Canadiens lost 5-2 to that same team Saturday, and Mike Condon was pulled after giving up four goals in the second period.
Montreal also played its 10th consecutive game without one of its top goal scorers, Brendan Gallagher (lower body).
"They'll be plenty of time to talk about what went wrong this year," said forward Tomas Plekanec, who has seven goals and four assists in his last nine games against Detroit. "We have six games to play, and we need to focus that and win as many games as possible."
Detroit has won its past two matchups against Montreal and rallied for a 3-2 victory Dec. 10 by scoring two goals in the final 7:12.
Detroit has scored at least one power-play goal in a season-high five consecutive games, going 6 for 15 in that run. Montreal has allowed seven in its last 24 times short-handed.
The Red Wings play four of their final six games on the road.