- The Canadiens skated at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit on Thursday morning ahead of their tilt against the Red Wings. Michel Therrien’s troops, who currently sit second in the Atlantic Division with 89 points, are looking for their fourth consecutive victory.
- For their part, the Red Wings currently hold the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, despite being tied with the Blue Jackets, Capitals and Maple Leafs at 80 points. Knowing full well that Detroit is battling for their playoff lives, Therrien stressed the importance of focusing on the present and continuing to build off of their recent success.
“We have to concentrate on the moment. What you accomplished in the past will give you confidence, but we can’t think too far ahead. It’s about tonight,” offered the Habs bench boss, whose club will look to best the Red Wings for the first time this season after dropping their two previous meetings during the 2013-14 campaign. “The focus has to be on tonight’s game. There are two points on the line for us. It’s the same thing for the Red Wings. I like the way we’ve played lately. We’ve done a lot of good things. We just have to keep focusing to play some solid hockey.”
- The Canadiens will field the same group up front on Thursday night that downed the Sabres 2-0 at the Bell Centre earlier in the week. The lone change will come on back end, with Francis Bouillon drawing back into the lineup after being a healthy scratch against Buffalo. In his post-practice press conference, Therrien commented on the importance of affording each one of his defenders playing time as the Habs look to close out the regular season on a high note heading into the playoffs.
“We have a good idea of who’ll make up our top six on defense, but one thing is for sure, we don’t want to keep guys out of the lineup for long periods of time,” stressed Therrien. “Francis is playing good hockey. We talked to him before last game. We also wanted to get Jarred Tinordi in there. We’re taking Douglas Murray out after he played two good games.”
- Carey Price will make his 54th start of the season on Thursday night. The 26-year-old netminder holds a 2-3-1 record and a 2.63 GAA in six career outings against the Red Wings. He was in goal when the Habs dropped a 4-1 decision in Detroit back on Jan. 24. Jimmy Howard will get the call between the pipes for Detroit.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST.
Projected lineup vs. Detroit