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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, February 26th (All times Eastern)

Detroit Red Wings (26-20-12) at Montreal Canadiens (32-21-6), 7:30 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - Mike Babcock was behind the bench to lead Canada to a second straight gold medal at the Sochi Olympics, but the Red Wings head coach is now faced with the unenviable task of getting Detroit back to the playoffs for a 23rd straight season.

Babcock's Red Wings hope to aid their postseason quest on Wednesday, when they return from the NHL's Olympic break to visit the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre.

Detroit would be in the playoffs if the season ended right now, but the club is only one point ahead of a three teams -- Columbus, Ottawa and Washington -- for the Eastern Conference's final berth.

While Babcock was coaching Canada to gold, the captain of his NHL team -- Henrik Zetterberg -- was recovering from recent back surgery. Zetterberg suited up for Team Sweden once in Sochi before returning to the United States to have a procedure that removed what Red Wings general manager Ken Holland called a "floating piece of a disk lodged in a nerve in his back."

After undergoing the surgery on Friday, Zetterberg, who is leading Detroit in goals (16) and assists (32) this season, is expected to be out of action for 7-to-8 weeks.

Zetterberg's absence could make it difficult for the Red Wings to keep their amazing postseason appearance streak going, but the club is still eager to get back to the task at hand. After visiting Montreal, which is six points ahead of Detroit in the Atlantic Division and East standings, the Red Wings will make a stop to battle the playoff-hopeful Senators on Thursday.

"Two of the biggest games of the year by far. We're chasing Montreal and Ottawa is chasing us," said Red Wings defenseman Kyle Quincey. "So there's nothing like having 20-odd days off and coming back and playing huge games. We know the playoffs are going to come down to one or two points, so easily it could come down to these two games. We know that going in and that's why we're so focused on getting ready for them."

Wednesday's game marks the continuation of a five-game road trip that began before the Olympics. Detroit, which is 15-9-4 as the guest this season compared to a poor 11-11-8 mark at home, split road games against Florida and Tampa Bay before the NHL went on hiatus.

Following Thursday's showdown with the Senators, the Red Wings will have four full days of rest before capping their swing next Tuesday at New Jersey.

Montreal, meanwhile, enters Tuesday hoping to pick up where it left off. The Canadiens won their last three games before the Olympics and went 5-1-1 over their seven final outings prior to the break. The Habs are sitting one point behind Tampa Bay for second place in the Atlantic and eight in back of Boston for the division lead. The Canadiens also are locked in a tie with rival Toronto in both the Atlantic and East standings.

The Habs were hoping goaltender Carey Price could continue his hot play after anchoring Babcock's Team Canada to a gold medal at the Sochi Games, but he will miss at least the next two games after suffering a lower-body injury at practice on Wednesday morning.

Montreal recalled netminder Dustin Tokarski from its AHL affiliate in Hamilton. Peter Budaj will get the start tonight.

Price posted consecutive shutouts for Canada in the semifinals and gold medal game and ended the Olympic tournament with a 5-0 record, a 0.59 goals against average and .972 save percentage.

All told, Price allowed three goals on 106 shots and ended the Winter Games on a shutout streak of 164 minutes, 19 seconds.

"Obviously it was a pretty cool life experience," Price told his team's official web site upon his return from Russia.

Price was already having a stellar year for the Habs before his Olympic triumph. He is 26-17-5 with a 2.33 GAA and .925 save percentage in 48 games this season.

While the club will be without for this evening's test and Thursday's game in Pittsburgh, Montreal will get forward Alex Galchenyuk back in the lineup on Wednesday for the first time since Jan. 6. Galchenyuk, who broke his hand in a game against Florida, has 10 goals and 13 assists in 44 games this season.

The Red Wings posted a 4-1 home win over Montreal on Jan. 24 in the first of four regular-season meetings between the clubs this season. It was the third win for Detroit over the last four games of this series.

02/26 11:58:52 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
3rd
PHI 70
CHA 85
 
3rd
PHI 70
CHA 85
 
4th
ORL 69
UTA 83
 
Half
CLE 54
BRK 49
 
3rd
BOS 59
MIN 56
 
3rd
DET 52
TOR 54
 
Half
MIA 55
WAS 54
 
2nd
MEM 34
CHI 43
 
2nd
SAN 32
POR 30
 
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
LAC
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
OKC
Final
YOUNG 92
WILB 71
 
Final
TULA 56
JST 49
 
Final
RAD 76
SIENA 66
 
Final
BUCK 88
CASEWEST 65
 
2nd
LIB 94
CPNC 65
 
2nd
SCAR 67
CLEM 41
 
Final
CMICH 97
CONC 60
 
2nd
MIAMI 44
EKENT 68
 
Final
GWEBB 91
HIWASSEE 71
 
Final
ODU 60
MDES 43
 
2nd
BUF 70
NIAG 47
 
2nd
KSU 61
NCAT 49
 
2nd
FAM 60
UNF 76
 
2nd
NORST 79
NARZ 58
 
2nd
DART 46
NILL 46
 
2nd
MORE 56
NKENTUCKY 76
 
Final
UCSB 69
SDCHR 46
 
2nd
STJ 45
GAELS 42
 
2nd
ALA 56
STILL 39
 
2nd
HAMP 59
TENST 49
 
2nd
TENN 60
TENT 53
 
Final
WMARY 86
WSHMD 46
 
2nd
MERC 40
COOK 26
 
Half
FLGC 38
FUR 34
 
2nd
CALST 41
SDKST 41
 
Half
MTST 29
CHAT 20
 
Half
NDAK 33
DICKINSON 13
 
Half
LAMON 31
LSUALEX 27
 
Half
PRIN 44
LIP 27
 
Half
LAM 48
MLGN 24
 
1st
MINN 38
SEAT 17
 
Half
LOYC 38
SUTAH 20
 
Half
SELA 44
WINT 32
 
1st
SILL 29
NO 21
 
9:00pm Tonight
MARQ
ALAAM
 
9:00pm Tonight
TTU
ARKPB
 
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
COLST
9:00pm Tonight
CREI
TXPA
 
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
EWASH
10:05pm Tonight
UTST
IDST
 
11:00pm Tonight
UTEP
ARZ
11:59pm Tonight
CHAM
HAW
 
2nd Intermission
NJD 2
TAM 1
 
2nd
OTT 2
ANA 0
 
2nd
DET 1
NYI 2
 
1st Intermission
WIN 1
BOS 0
 
9:00pm Tonight
CAL
DAL