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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, March 27th (All times Eastern)

Montreal Canadiens (41-26-7) at Detroit Red Wings (33-25-14), 7 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The surging Montreal Canadiens will take aim at their seventh win in eight tries when they begin a four-game road trip with Thursday's clash against the Detroit Red Wings.

The Canadiens have won three straight and six of their past seven games, pushing them two points ahead of Tampa Bay for second place in the Atlantic Division. However, the Lightning, who host the New York Islanders on Thursday, do hold two games in hand over the Habs.

Detroit, meanwhile, enters Thursday as one of four teams tied for the last two playoff berths in the Eastern Conference.

With 80 points, the Red Wings are seven in back of Tampa Bay for last of the Atlantic Division's three automatic playoff berths, meaning they'll likely need to claim one of the East's two wild cards to qualify for a 23rd straight postseason.

Columbus, Detroit, Toronto and Washington each have 80 points, but the Red Wings are the only team of that group in action on Thursday. The Blue Jackets and Red Wings have 10 games remaining in their regular-season schedules, while the Capitals and Maple Leafs have nine and eight games left, respectively.

Detroit, which will try to halt a two-game slide on Thursday, hasn't missed the playoffs since 1990.

The Red Wings had a three-game winning streak snapped with Sunday's overtime loss against visiting Minnesota and then fell 4-2 in an important road clash with Columbus on Tuesday.

Cam Atkinson scored the winning goal for the Blue Jackets in the third period of Tuesday's game, but the decisive tally did not come without controversy.

Columbus grabbed a 3-2 lead at 6:58 of the third period. The team skated the other way on a 2-on-1 and Matt Calvert let fly with a shot from the right wing that Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard stopped before Atkinson knocked in the rebound. However, the net was dislodged by Atkinson before the puck crossed the line, but Brendan Smith had pushed Atkinson into the net and the refs ruled it a good goal.

"They knocked the net off and they still score," a frustrated Howard said. "I guess it's something to remember in the back of our minds, you knock the net off it, just throw (the puck) in there. It should count."

Ryan Johansen sealed the win for Columbus with an empty-net goal in the closing seconds.

Gustav Nyquist had both goals for the Red Wings, while Howard made 24 stops on 27 shots.

Beginning with Thursday's test, Detroit is playing four of its next five games on home ice. The Red Wings are only 15-11-10 as the host this season, but the club had won four straight in the Motor City before losing Sunday's game against the Wild.

Montreal picked up its third straight win in Tuesday's home meeting against the lowly Buffalo Sabres. Max Pacioretty broke a scoreless deadlock with 9:07 to play and Carey Price posted a 24-save shutout to lift the Canadiens to the 2-0 win over the basement-dwelling Sabres.

Danny Briere added an insurance marker with Montreal on the power play at 16:54 of the third, while Price stood tall down the stretch to help kill off a late Canadiens penalty and secure his fifth shutout of the season and 24th of his career.

"The goal is to make the playoffs," Briere remarked. "We're in control of our destiny and trying to rack up as many points as we can."

The Canadiens won despite playing without forwards Travis Moen and Dale Weise, who were injured on the same shift in Monday's 2-1 shootout win in Boston. Both players are questionable for Thursday's game.

Detroit is 2-0 against the Habs so far in 2013-14 and the clubs will meet once more in the regular season when Montreal hosts the Red Wings on April 5. The Red Wings have won four of five and six of eight overall in the series and have come out on top in the last two encounters at Joe Louis Arena.

Montreal is opening a four-game road trip on Thursday and boasts a solid 20-14-2 record as the visiting club this season.

03/27 11:02:28 ET

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Scoreboard
NBA
8:00pm Tonight
CLE
GSW
10:30pm Tonight
PHO
OKC
Final
KNST 53
NKENTUCKY 78
 
2nd
CITA 69
ETST 71
 
Half
GWEBB 44
CSOU 37
 
Half
VMI 36
CHAT 31
 
Half
BRY 29
CCST 34
 
Half
PBY 34
CCAR 23
 
Half
DREX 28
DEL 35
 
Half
UNCA 41
HIGH 42
 
Half
TEMPL 29
HOU 34
 
Half
EKENT 29
JVST 23
 
Half
WRST 28
UWMIL 26
 
Half
MSU 41
MINN 36
 
Half
RFLSH 30
MNTER 26
 
Half
OSU 42
NEB 24
 
Half
MAST 36
NEOM 28
 
Half
ELON 28
NE 27
 
Half
LIB 32
RAD 30
 
Half
FD 40
SHU 44
 
Half
UNCG 36
SAMF 33
 
1st
LIU 28
Terriers 25
 
Half
TENN 30
VANDY 19
 
Half
RMU 44
WAGN 29
 
Half
FUR 19
WCU 24
 
Half
IUPUI 34
WILL 25
 
Half
CAMP 30
WINT 25
 
Half
MERC 25
WOFF 35
 
1st
APP 2
GSOUT 16
 
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UNT
CHAR
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MURST
EILL
 
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MARS
FIU
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WKENT
FATL
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ILLCH
UWGB
 
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ORU
NDST
 
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NDAK
NARZ
 
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RICE
ODU
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MON
RIDE
 
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PEAY
SIUE
 
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LATU
UTEP
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SMISS
TXSA
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TENST
TENNM
 
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CHIST
GRCN
 
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SALA
LAMON
 
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UMKC
WLVRN
 
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ARKLR
UGST
 
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ARKST
TXARL
 
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TXST
TROY
 
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COL
ARZ
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PURD
RUTG
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MEM
SMU
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NCOL
SUTAH
 
9:00pm Tonight
MORE
TENT
 
9:05pm Tonight
EWASH
MNTST
 
10:00pm Tonight
PORT
BYU
 
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CSNO
CSFU
 
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IDAHO
MONT
 
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SCU
PAC
 
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UCSB
UCD
 
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CPSL
UCI
 
10:30pm Tonight
UTAH
ARST
11:00pm Tonight
STAN
ORST
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GONZ
SDU
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USF
GAELS
 
11:59pm Tonight
HAW
LBSU
 
1st Intermission
NYR 1
ARI 3
 
1st Intermission
CLB 1
MON 3
 
1st Intermission
BUF 1
VAN 1
 
1st
FLA 0
CHI 1
 
1st
TOR 0
PHI 0
 
8:00pm Tonight
WIN
STL
8:30pm Tonight
NAS
MIN
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
DET
10:30pm Tonight
LOS
OTT