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WGD: Game 45: Red Wings vs. Canadiens

After another disappointing loss at the hands of the Washington Capitals on Sunday, the Red Wings are back at it tonight at Little Caesars Arena against the Montreal Canadiens.

These two teams have only met once so far this season, with the Habs embarrassing the Wings in a 7-3 victory. Former Red Wings Tomas Tatar had three points in that massacre and Jonathan Drouin had two goals.

The Canadiens are in a tight race for a Wild Card spot right now. Currently, they are a single point behind the New York Islanders and Buffalo Sabres. A win tonight could boost them into a playoff spot if the other two teams lose their respective games, but it’s a toss-up. The Habs have been playing .500 hockey lately, going 5-5-0 in their last 10 games. On the road this year, they are 11-7-3.

THE RED WINGS

LW C RW
Tyler Bertuzzi
TYLER BERTUZZI

Rating: 72.6#70 LW

Dylan Larkin
DYLAN LARKIN

Rating: 78.4#29 C

Gustav Nyquist
GUSTAV NYQUIST

Rating: 74.5#54 RW

Thomas Vanek
THOMAS VANEK

Rating: 72.1#75 LW

Frans Nielsen
FRANS NIELSEN

Rating: 73.0#80 C

Anthony Mantha
ANTHONY MANTHA

Rating: 75.1#38 RW

Darren Helm
DARREN HELM

Rating: 71.1#139 LW

Luke Glendening
LUKE GLENDENING

Rating: 69.2#181 C

Andreas Athanasiou
ANDREAS ATHANASIOU

Rating: 76.2#40 RW

Justin Abdelkader
JUSTIN ABDELKADER

Rating: 69.7#114 LW

Jacob De La Rose
JACOB DE LA ROSE

Rating: 68.0#193 C

Christoffer Ehn
CHRISTOFFER EHN

Rating: 71.6#84 RW

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Niklas Kronwall
NIKLAS KRONWALL

Rating: 71.3#90 LD

Nick Jensen
NICK JENSEN

Rating: 71.1#76 RD

Jonathan Ericsson
JONATHAN ERICSSON

Rating: 68.8#127 LD

Filip Hronek
FILIP HRONEK

Rating: 72.0#58 RD

Dennis Cholowski
DENNIS CHOLOWSKI

Rating: 71.8#75 LD

Luke Witkowski
LUKE WITKOWSKI

Rating: 67.9#102 RD

Not much shuffling to the Red Wings lines today, which implies that Blashill has liked the team’s performance over the last couple of games. Anthony Mantha and Filip Hronek scored the two goals against Washington with Larkin and Nyquist assisting on the latter’s.

Mantha will continue to play with Vanek and Neilsen while Hronek will stick with Ericsson. These D-lines are still not ideal, but Mike Green nears his return as he skated with the team this morning. They think he’ll be ready to go for Saturday’s game against Minnesota.

THE CANADIENS

LW C RW
Tomas Tatar
TOMAS TATAR

Rating: 76.0#28 LW

Phillip Danault
PHILLIP DANAULT

Rating: 75.7#44 C

Brendan Gallagher
BRENDAN GALLAGHER

Rating: 77.3#23 RW

Jonathan Drouin
JONATHAN DROUIN

Rating: 75.4#48 LW

Max Domi
MAX DOMI

Rating: 73.2#73 C

Joel Armia
JOEL ARMIA

Rating: 71.9#81 RW

Artturi Lehkonen
ARTTURI LEHKONEN

Rating: 74.3#35 LW

Jesperi Kotkaniemi
JESPERI KOTKANIEMI

Rating: 73.9#58 C

Paul Byron
PAUL BYRON

Rating: 74.5#53 RW

Kenny Agostino
KENNY AGOSTINO

Rating: 72.7#63 LW

Michael Chaput
MICHAEL CHAPUT

Rating: 68.0#194 C

Nicolas Deslauriers
NICOLAS DESLAURIERS

Rating: 70.1#104 RW

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Victor Mete
VICTOR METE

Rating: 72.1#71 LD

Shea Weber
SHEA WEBER

Rating: 79.8#10 RD

Mike Reilly
MIKE REILLY

Rating: 70.8#106 LD

Jeff Petry
JEFF PETRY

Rating: 77.0#18 RD

Brett Kulak
BRETT KULAK

Rating: 72.2#69 LD

Jordie Benn
JORDIE BENN

Rating: 72.6#62 RD

The Canadiens are coming off a 1-0 loss against the Minnesota Wild last night, so they should have some tired legs hitting the ice in Detroit. They’ve been having a bit of a surprise season this year. Nobody expected them to be contending for a playoff spot, but strong performances from Max Domi (14G, 24A), Jonathan Drouin (13G, 20A), and Tomas Tatar (14G, 17A) have given them a legit shot at playing in the post-season.

Their controversial third overall pick from last year’s draft will be playing in his 44th NHL game tonight. Jesperi Kotkaniemi was taken over Filip Zadina and has 20 points to show for it so far, including one that he collected in his last game against the Red Wings.

On the blue line, Shea Weber will play despite leaving last night’s game after taking a puck to the face. Jeff Petry leads the offensive charge among team defensemen with eight goals and 21 assists.

BETWEEN THE PIPES

Antti Niemi vs. Jimmy Howard

Carey Price started last night against the Wild, so expect Niemi to get the start tonight. Niemi’s bounced around the league quite a bit the last few years, but seems to have found a home in Montreal. Through 11 starts this year, Niemi is 6-4-1 with an .881 save percentage and 4.01 goals against average.

The Wings will be going with their regular starter, who has been keeping them in more games than they’d like to admit. Howie gets another shot at the Habs tonight after they torched him in October.

HOW TO WATCH

Puck drop is at 7:30 P.M. ET tonight and you’ll be able to watch the game on Fox Sports Detroit or TSN2 if you’re tuning in from Canada. If you want to get fancy and watch in French, the game will be broadcast on RDS.

As always, make sure you’re following us on Twitter for all kinds of fun in-game reactions, gifs, and all the other things you’d expect from a hockey blog twitter account.