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Canadiens' Subban sidelined against Red Wings

Detroit in heated battle with Philadelphia for wild-card spot

by Paul Harris / NHL.com Correspondent

CANADIENS (34-34-6) at RED WINGS (36-26-11)

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET; NHLN, FS-D, SNE, RDS

DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings can regain the second wild card into Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference if they earn more points Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens than the Philadelphia Flyers do against the Colorado Avalanche.

The Red Wings and Flyers are tied with 83 points, but Philadelphia has a game in hand.

Detroit has qualified for the playoffs the past 24 seasons.

Coach Jeff Blashill is relying on the Red Wings' third line comprised of left wing Tomas Tatar, center Riley Sheahan and right wing Gustav Nyquist to step up.

"I think they can be a swing line for us, for sure," Blashill said. "By that I mean if the top lines are playing against the top lines, they've got every ingredient to be a top line themselves and if they're not drawing the other team's best defenders then they need to be productive."

Blashill said he thought the line was great in the 5-3 comeback win against the Florida Panthers on Saturday, but wasn't good enough in the 6-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

"We need them to be great here tonight," he said.

Tatar had 29 goals last season, and Nyquist had 27. This season, they have 20 and 16, respectively. Sheahan has nine goals and 18 points and is minus-12.

Montreal center David Desharnais returns Thursday after missing 17 games with a broken foot. He will center a line with Michael McCarron and Stefan Matteau.

"It's never fun watching when you're not a part of the lineup," Desharnais said.

The Canadiens, who are 4-6-0 in their past 10 games, are nine points out of the second wild card in the East.

"We need to be a spoiler," captain Max Pacioretty said. "Unfortunately we have had a lot of bad breaks that are out of our control."

Here are the projected lineups:

CANADIENS

Max Pacioretty - Alex Galchenyuk - Paul Byron

Lars Eller - Tomas Plekanec - Torrey Mitchell

Stefan Matteau - David Desharnais - Michael McCarron

Lucas Lessio - Phillip Danault - Mike Brown

Andrei Markov - Alexei Emelin

Nathan Beaulieu - Greg Pateryn

Joel Hanley - Darren Dietz

Ben Scrivens

Mike Condon

Injured: P.K. Subban (neck), Daniel Carr (knee), Carey Price (lower body), Tom Gilbert (knee), Brian Flynn (lower body), Sven Andrighetto (upper body), Jeff Petry (lower body), Brendan Gallagher (lower body), Mark Barberio (concussion)

Scratched: Jacob De La Rose

RED WINGS

Justin Abdelkader - Henrik Zetterberg - Dylan Larkin

Darren Helm - Pavel Datsyuk - Anthony Mantha

Gustav Nyquist - Riley Sheahan - Tomas Tatar

Brad Richards - Luke Glendening - Andreas Athanasiou

Danny DeKeyser - Kyle Quincey

Niklas Kronwall - Jonathan Ericsson

Brendan Smith - Mike Green

Petr Mrazek

Jimmy Howard

Injured: Drew Miller (knee), Johan Franzen (concussion)

Scratched: Tomas Jurco, Teemu Pulkkinen, Alexey Marchenko

Status update: Subban will miss his seventh consecutive game with a neck injury. "Right now we're just taking it day by day, just trying to get my timing back with the team," Subban said. "But I've still got some symptoms from the injury and they don't want me back in unless I'm 100 percent."

Who's hot: Brown had a goal and an assist in a 4-3 win against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday … Abdelkader has a three-game point streak (1-3-4).

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