Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

WGD #62: Three things to watch for against Montreal

Following a 5-1 defeat against Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon, Detroit has now allowed a combined 13 goals and tallied just three of their own over the past three games. Although, the Red Wings will have an opportunity to end their current four-game losing streak later tonight against the 27-26-8 Canadiens.

So far this season, Detroit has surprisingly earned three of their 14 total victories against Montreal. The Red Wings have also generated four goals and have surrendered just two goals or fewer in two of their three matchups against the Canadiens. During this final meeting of the season, if victorious, Detroit would finally capture their first series win of the 2019-20 season.

Projected Lines

Detroit Red Wings

Filip Hronek
Mike Green
Patrik Nemeth
Alex Biega
Madison Bowey
Gustav Lindstrom

For the most part, Detroit’s lineup is expected to look very similar to Sunday afternoon’s matchup against Pittsburgh. However, defenseman Filip Hronek will likely be held out of tonight’s game after he took a puck off his head back on Sunday. On the bright side, the Red Wings may have Trevor Daley returning to action against the Canadiens.

The 36-year-old defenseman participated in the morning skate and could potentially replace the injured Hronek during tonight’s contest. If so, Daley would likely be paired alongside Mike Green on Detroit’s top defensive pairing.

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Montreal Canadiens 

Ben Chiarot
Shea Weber
Marco Scandella
Jeff Petry
Brett Kulak
Victor Mete

Speaking of injuries, the Canadiens have been riddled with them throughout the entire season. Although, there’s a chance for two of their regulars to return to the ice during tonight’s season finale against the Red Wings. Currently, Brendan Gallagher and Shea Weber are game-time decisions. In addition, depth forward Paul Byron could also return from a knee injury that has kept him out since Nov. 15.

Three Thoughts

1.) Mike Green Further Improves Trade Value 

With the NHL trade deadline fast approaching, the Red Wings are likely to trade away a few of their players between now and Feb. 24. One of their most intriguing trade chips could be veteran defenseman Mike Green. The 34-year-old has battled through an upper-body injury through most of the season, limiting him to just two goals and nine points through 46 games.

However, Green has produced one goal and three points through three games against Montreal this season. With most of the contending teams seeking a top-six defenseman, the impending free agent who has less than $1.4 million left on his contract, could be a boost on the blue line this spring. So, there’ll likely be a few scouts in attendance taking a look at Green.

2.) Flurry of Action During 3rd Period

During each of their last two meetings, both matchups have been decided during the final 20 minutes of regulation. In total, there have been a combined six goals scored during the last two third periods between these teams. While both Detroit (third-fewest) and Montreal (fourth-fewest) rank in the bottom-five in goals scored during the third since Jan. 1, they’ve both allowed a ton of scoring during the final frame as well.

As a result, the Red Wings have surrendered the most goals in the third period among all 31 teams since the start of January. For the Canadiens, their team is tied for the seventh-most goals allowed during the final 20 minutes over that same timeframe. Based on these metrics, no one will want to miss the final period of tonight’s showdown at Little Caesars Arena.

3.) Shea Weber Could Somehow Return 

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, you likely would have missed the crazy situation surrounding Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber. Less than a week ago, Montreal’s captain suffered what believed to be a serious ankle sprain. After Weber was originally given a four-to-six week timeframe, he has the potential to play in tonight’s season finale against Detroit.

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According to coach Claude Julien, Weber will make the final decision if he wants to return to the ice against Detroit later tonight. Although, the Red Wings will obviously be hoping for the veteran defenseman to miss their series finale as he’s currently produced 13 goals, 34 points and 157 shots on net this season.