CANADIENS (19-7-3) vs. RED WINGS (15-8-5)
TV: RDS, City Montreal
The Canadiens will play their second game in as many nights against an Atlantic Division rival on Thursday, going up against the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
It will mark the second meeting of the season between the two Original Six teams. Back on October 17, the Red Wings dropped a 4-1 decision at the Bell Centre.
In their last outing, the Red Wings suffered a 3-2 shootout loss to the Washington Capitals. T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov both lit the lamp during the first two rounds of the shootout to secure the victory. Tomas Jurco and Henrik Zetterberg scored the Red Wings’ goals during regulation time. For his part, goaltender Jimmy Howard stopped 38 of 40 shots.
The Canadiens, meanwhile, are coming off a 3-1 loss to the Boston Bruins in Montreal. It was the final meeting between the two teams before the upcoming Winter Classic on New Year’s Day in Foxborough, MA. Paul Byron opened the scoring for the CH midway through the opening frame, but that’s the only tally the Canadiens were able to get on Bruins starter Tuukka Rask. Loui Eriksson tied things up in the third period, scoring on a breakaway while the Bruins were down a man. Then, Landon Ferraro gave the Bruins the lead less than a minute later before Patrice Bergeron capped the scoring with Boston’s third unanswered goal. Mike Condon finished the night with 20 saves. It marked the Canadiens’ third straight loss of the season, and the first time they’d suffered three straight defeats all year.
The Red Wings currently sit second in the Atlantic Division with a 15-8-5 record and 35 points. They’ve managed to register at least one point in each of their last 11 outings. Zetterberg and young gun Dylan Larkin currently lead the Red Wings with 22 points each.
Petr Mrazek will get the start in goal for the Red Wings on Thursday night. He boasts an 8-4-3-1 record in 16 outings so far this year, along with a .924 save percentage and a 2.41 goals-against average.
Condon, meanwhile, will get the night off. Dustin Tokarski will get his first start of the year. The 26-year-old battled the Red Wings just one time over the course of his career, pacing the Canadiens to a 4-1 win in November 2014. He finished the night with 28 stops.
Forwards Torrey Mitchell, Devante Smith-Pelly and Brendan Gallagher are all sidelined due to injury. Over the last couple of weeks, the Canadiens have called up Sven Andrighetto, Christian Thomas, Daniel Carr and Charles Hudon. Michel Therrien confirmed that Charles Hudon will play his first NHL game on Thursday in place of Christian Thomas. Greg Pateryn will also replace Nathan Beaulieu on the blue line.