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In-game recap: Red Wings at Montreal

by Dana Wakiji / Detroit Red Wings

MONTREAL -- The Red Wings have consistently gone with two goaltenders when playing back-to-back games.

The only time that changed was when the Wings played at home against the New York Rangers Saturday afternoon and at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs Sunday night March 12-13.

Petr Mrazek started both of those games.

But when playing at home and then traveling, the Wings have usually changed goaltenders.

After Jimmy Howard played Monday night at home against the Buffalo Sabres, a 3-2 win, coach Jeff Blashill said Petr Mrazek would play Tuesday night in Montreal.

"I think first of all on the back to back, if you can go with two goalies, I think you're better off in most situations," Blashill said. "We have said all year we think a strength of our team can be our goaltending. I thought Jim was real good last night, we need Petr to be real good tonight."

Mrazek has not played as well in recent weeks as he had earlier in the season.

In his recent outing, Mrazek was pulled against Pittsburgh after allowing four goals on 27 shots.

But Blashill has confidence in his young goaltender.

"I've been with him a long time and repeatedly he's done a good job of coming back from tough situations and playing real well," Blashill said. "So I believe that he's one, got the skills and he's put the work in with (goaltending coach) Jimmy Bedard that he can come out and have a real good game tonight."

Rookie Anthony Mantha, who grew up 20 minutes outside of Montreal, expects to have 40-50 friends and family members in attendance, including his billets, who are driving six-plus hours from Val d'Or for the game.

"Excited," Mantha said after the team arrived at the Bell Centre Tuesday evening. "A lot of family members, friends are going to be here. They’re all trying to get ahold of me to come down and see me after the game. We’ll just see after the game how it goes and obviously I hope we play well and we win tonight."

Mantha has been playing on a line with Pavel Datsyuk and Darren Helm.

At 37, Datsyuk still has a lot of skills and knowledge that Mantha can learn from.

"It’s been amazing," Mantha said. "He’s such a great player. He brings a lot of O-zone play when he’s on the ice. He wins almost every one-on-one battle if it’s not every one. It’s just easier for me to skate around and know that he has the puck and I could head to the net and know it’s going to come or go in the corner and know it’s going to come. It’s just plays that he makes that not everyone can make."

The game started out a bit tentative on both sides with only one shot for each team in the first seven-plus minutes.

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