Jan 25, 2012, 7:31 AM EDT
They might both be original six teams, but the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens couldn’t possibly be having more opposite seasons. When the two teams square off tonight in Montreal (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN) the one thing the Canadiens have going for them against the Wings is that they’ve got them on their turf.
Detroit has been a terrorizing team at home this season and have strung together 17 wins in a row at Joe Louis Arena. On the road, however, the Wings are a totally different team sporting a 13-13-0 record. Comparing that with their 20-2-1 record in Detroit and you’ve got a team that has an obvious Achilles’ heel. All that aside though, the Wings have won seven in a row and would love to go into the break making it eight.
For coach Mike Babcock, he’ll hope that his college town homecoming (he’s a McGill graduate) will help provide a semblance of comfort for the Wings. Meanwhile, look for Jimmy Howard to again be the man in goal while continuing to get great offensive play of late from Pavel Datsyuk, Todd Bertuzzi, Johan Franzen, Nicklas Lidstrom, and Niklas Kronwall.
For Montreal, things this season haven’t been all that hot. You know all about the strife with head coach Randy Cunneyworth by now and Scott Gomez‘s inability to score a goal this season has added fuel to the disdain Habs fans have for him. Lately, P.K. Subban has come under fire for his struggles defensively. Given that he’s just 22-years-old and playing in the NHL’s biggest fishbowl, he’s handling things rather well.
Lately, Montreal has lost seven of their last 11 games but are coming off an inspiring win against Toronto on Saturday night. They’ll need to use any momentum gained from that victory tonight to try and keep the Wings in check.
At least Montreal has Rene Bourque‘s goal scoring and toughness added to their team, something Detroit knows all too well from his Calgary and Chicago days. The Habs will be hoping that Carey Price can withstand the barrage that the Wings will throw at him tonight.
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