Skip to main content

Red Wings look to solidify playoff spot vs. Canadiens

by Arpon Basu

MONTREAL -- When the Detroit Red Wings hosted the Toronto Maple Leafs on March 18, the Red Wings' streak of 22 straight appearances in the Stanley Cup Playoffs was in jeopardy.

A few weeks earlier, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock returned from leading Canada to the gold medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and defiantly stated Detroit was not going to let the streak be snapped.

"We got to find a way to get in," he said prior to the resumption of the NHL schedule after the Olympic break. "That's what we're going to do."

On March 18, the Red Wings were three points out of the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference and had won two of their previous seven games.

Babcock's words looked to be rather hollow.

But the Red Wings defeated the Maple Leafs 3-2, starting a run of seven wins in 10 games (7-2-1) that they ride into a game against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday, where a fifth straight victory would likely cement that playoff streak being extended by another season.

Detroit defeated the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 at home Friday, giving the Red Wings a four-point cushion with a game in hand on the Maple Leafs, the top non-playoff team in the East.

The Red Wings were seven points behind the Maple Leafs with two games in hand prior to that game between the teams March 18.

"We're going to keep going and we can't let up," veteran forward Daniel Alfredsson said following the win against Buffalo. "We've put ourselves in a good spot."

A Red Wings win against the Canadiens coupled with a Maple Leafs loss in regulation at home to the Winnipeg Jets would make it impossible for Toronto to catch Detroit. If the New Jersey Devils also were to lose at the Carolina Hurricanes and the Washington Capitals do the same at the New York Islanders, that 23rd straight playoff spot for the Red Wings would be all but assured.

Standing in the way will be the Canadiens, who are competing with the Tampa Bay Lightning to claim home-ice advantage in the likely first-round series.

Montreal has won nine of its past 11 games to clinch its sixth playoff appearance in seven years.

The game will feature two of the hottest scorers in the NHL.

Detroit forward Gustav Nyquist had a three-game goal streak snapped against the Sabres but has 12 goals in his past 11 games. Montreal forward Max Pacioretty had three goals and two assists in a 7-4 win on the road against the Ottawa Senators on Friday and has scored eight goals in his past seven games.

Goaltender Jonas Gustavsson will start against Montreal after Jimmy Howard played Friday against Buffalo. Carey Price is likely to be the starting goaltender for the Canadiens after Peter Budaj played Friday.

Neither team held a morning skate Saturday, so here is what the Red Wings and Canadiens lineups looked like Friday with the exception of the starting goaltenders.


Gustav Nyquist - David Legwand - Johan Franzen

Darren Helm - Pavel Datsyuk - Justin Abdelkader

Tomas Tatar - Riley Sheahan - Tomas Jurco

Drew Miller - Luke Glendening - Daniel Alfredsson

Brendan Smith - Niklas Kronwall

Kyle Quincey - Danny DeKeyser

Brian Lashoff - Jakub Kindl

Jonas Gustavsson

Jimmy Howard

Scratched: Joakim Andersson, Todd Bertuzzi

Injured: Henrik Zetterberg (back), Stephen Weiss (sports hernia), Jonathan Ericsson (finger), Mikael Samuelsson (shoulder), Daniel Cleary (knee)


Max Pacioretty - David Desharnais - Thomas Vanek

Alex Galchenyuk - Tomas Plekanec - Brendan Gallagher

Lars Eller - Daniel Briere - Brian Gionta

Michael Bournival - Ryan White - Rene Bourque

Andrei Markov - Alexei Emelin

Francis Bouillon - P.K. Subban

Jarred Tinordi - Mike Weaver

Carey Price

Peter Budaj

Scratched: George Parros, Douglas Murray (suspended)

Injured: Josh Gorges (hand), Brandon Prust (upper body), Dale Weise (upper body), Travis Moen (concussion)

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.