banner

NHL

more stats

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

Other Stories

Hurricanes

Hurricanes, Maple Leafs 5
Canes Corner Podcast: Moves, returns give Carolina a boost in 2nd half of season

Carolina (10-20-4) has reason for optimism in the new year, Chuck Kaiton and Mike Maniscalco agree.

Related Stories
TV
  • Sun Bowl: Duke vs. Arizona State

    Tomorrow at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Dallas at Washington

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on FOX50

  • NFL: Detroit at Green Bay

    Sunday at 4:25 pm on FOX50

  • NFL: Panthers vs. Falcons

    Sunday at 4:25 pm on WRAL-TV

Scoreboard
Local
4:30pm Today
UNC
RUTG
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
CHA
 
8:00pm Tonight
UCF
NCSU
Final
NYK 91
WAS 102
Final
SAN 106
OKC 114
Final
MIA 101
CLE 91
Final
CHI 113
LAL 93
Final
LAC 100
GSW 86
1:00pm Today
BOS
BRK
 
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
CLE
 
7:30pm Tonight
DET
IND
 
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
MIL
 
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
CHA
 
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
HOU
 
8:00pm Tonight
NOP
SAN
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
LAL
 
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
MIN
 
10:00pm Tonight
POR
PHI
 
10:00pm Tonight
SAC
PHO
 
1:00pm Today
LATU
ILL
4:30pm Today
UNC
RUTG
8:00pm Tonight
UCF
NCSU
Final
LMU 72
DEP 69
Final
NEB 71
OHIO 58
Final
HAW 69
COL 66
Final
WICHS 54
GWU 60