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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, January 24th (All times Eastern)
Montreal Canadiens (27-18-5) at Detroit Red Wings (22-18-10), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Detroit Red Wings will try to win consecutive games for the first time in a month when they host the Montreal Canadiens in Friday's clash between Original Six and Atlantic Division rivals.
The Red Wings won for the second time in three games thanks to Wednesday's 5-4 shootout win over visiting Chicago. Detroit improved to 2-1-0 on a five-game homestand, earning both of its wins in shootouts.
A win on Friday would give Detroit its first two-game win streak since posting victories over Calgary and Toronto on Dec. 19 and 21, respectively.
Darren Helm scored the game-winner in the sixth round of Wednesday's shootout win at Joe Louis Arena.
After Tomas Tatar came up empty to open the shootout, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Eaves, Patrick Sharp and Todd Bertuzzi each scored in succession to keep it going. Following misses from the next five shooters, Helm ripped a quick shot under Corey Crawford's pads and Jonas Gustavsson denied Andrew Shaw at the other end to secure the victory for the Red Wings.
"They're a great team and we played well right from the start," Eaves said. "We needed these two points worse than they (did). It's huge for us and hopefully it will springboard us to something else."
Gustav Nyquist notched a goal and an assist, while Eaves, Tatar and Kyle Quincey each scored once for the Red Wings. Gustavsson, who will fill in as Detroit's No. 1 in the absence of Jimmy Howard, stopped 31 shots in the victory.
Howard expects to be out a week after injuring his knee in Monday's 4-1 loss against St. Louis. The goaltender is just one of many Detroit players dealing with injuries at the moment. Forwards Pavel Datsyuk (lower body), Daniel Alfredsson (back), Joakim Andersson (lower body), Johan Franzen (head), Corey Emmerton (finger) and Stephen Weiss (sports hernia surgery) are also sidelined for the Red Wings.
Detroit is 8-11-7 as the host this season and will close its homestand Sunday against Florida.
This evening's test marks the first meeting between the Canadiens and Red Wings in 2013-14. The clubs are old rivals, but are now in the same division thanks to the NHL's realignment plan, which moved Detroit from the Western Conference's Central Division to the Atlantic in the East.
Detroit has claimed seven of the past 11 in this series overall and the Canadiens have lost eight of their past 10 in the Motor City. Montreal enters Friday's test -- the first of four scheduled meetings this season between the Habs and Wings -- five points ahead of Detroit in the division standings.
The Red Wings are currently two points out of the final playoff spot in the East.
Montreal has lost two straight and three of its last four games and the club has been outscored by a 10-4 margin over its last two games. After getting dealt a 5-3 setback Saturday in Toronto, the Habs fell to 1-2-0 on a four-game road trip with Wednesday's 5-1 blowout loss at Pittsburgh.
Jussi Jokinen lit the lamp twice to lead the Pens in Wednesday's rout. Rene Bourque had Montreal's lone goal, while Daniel Briere and Brandon Prust picked up the assists.
Carey Price allowed all five goals on 21 shots before being pulled late in the second period. Peter Budaj entered in relief and stopped all 10 shots fired his way.
"We lost the game; that's the key for me. That's what's disappointing for us. We didn't play a good game and they were the better team," Budaj said.
Price will get the start on Friday and is 2-2-1 with a 2.36 goals against average against the Red Wings in his career.
Montreal is 13-10-2 as the road team this season. The club will begin a brief two-game homestand tomorrow against the Washington Capitals.
01/24 10:20:56 ET
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