The Red Wings are still looking for their first win of the season and tonight might be the best chance they will have so far.
What was supposed to be a struggling team, the Montreal Canadiens are performing above their expectations to start off their season. The 2-1-1 record that they sport might not be indicative of their actual talent level, but they are still able to steal wins from opponents because of their All-Star goaltender in Carey Price.
Towards the end of this season, this game might be seen as a matchup for who to get a better draft lottery position, but for right now it’s one team performing above expectations, against a team that is right where they are meant to be.
Les Canadiens de Montréal gagneront probablement facilement ce match et les Red Wings auront un autre défenseur blessé.
The Red Wings
Martin Frk will make his season debut tonight – it is still unconfirmed what forward will be scratched for him to take their place, but according to Helene St. James, it looks likely it will be Michael Rasmussen. With that, it brings up the question of whether or not Rasmussen should be sent back to his junior club. It will be something to monitor this upcoming week before he reaches the 10-game limit to burn a year of his Entry-Level contract.
On the blueline, Danny DeKeyser is left out due to an injury suffered against the Bruins on Saturday night. He will (hopefully) be replaced by the return of Dennis Cholowski to this lineup. The young rookie has been absolutely a treat to watch. Scoring a goal and two assists in three games is really impressive for such a young talent, but he has been fairly steady on the defensive side of the game as well.
If this is the top-4 defencemen heading into this game, they hold an average age of just under 22-years-old. That must be a Red Wings record somehow.
The return of two former Red Wings – Tomas Tatar and Xavier Ouellet – might look grim to some, but it’s nice to see both players (hopefully) find a consistent place in an NHL lineup.
Rookie boy wonder Jesperi Kotkaniemi looks like he belongs in the NHL so far – making correct and timely passes to his wingers and being not terrible on defence. This forward group is pretty deep for a team that should not win a lot of games. Their top-6 would serve well as any team’s middle-6 and they have goals within those players. Even without one of the best goalscorers Montreal has seen in modern history, they still look ready to perform.
Defensively, this Habs team is lacking. They are in a similar position to the Red Wings – if more of their veterans were healthy. Petry is good and underrated as a top-4 guy around the league, but other than that it is just sort of “blah” with their veterans. Mete and Juulsen provides some youth to this blueline, but other than those three players they are all replaceable.
Between the Pipes
Jimmy Howard vs. Carey Price
Howard is looking for his team to bounceback after a terrible loss from Bernier against the Boston Bruins on Saturday night. He looked solid against a strong Leafs team in his last game for the club, so he is definitely the better option of the two. But hey, at least Bernier is a good “tank” goalie.
Carey Price is Carey Price. You know that he is going to be All-Star level after a terrible season he had last year. His performance comes in massive ups and downs and this is going to be an up year for him. He might just ruin the Canadiens’ chance at getting an extremely good prospect this June.
How to Watch
This game will be on Fox Sports-Detroit or RDS and TSN2 if you’re north of the border. Puck drop is at 7:30pm EST, so get that dinner in your stomach and enjoy some mediocre hockey from some mediocre teams.
As always, follow us on Twitter to get instant reactions and all the hilarious jokes that we will be making throughout the night.