DET 04.15.24_GAMEDAY_WEB 1

DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings will look to keep their playoff hopes alive on Monday night as they play their final home game of the 2023-24 regular season against the Montreal Canadiens at Little Caesars Arena.

“It feels like every game, the next game is the biggest of the year,” Alex DeBrincat said. “We got to come ready to play and I think we’ve done a good job of that. We got to finish this out.”

Monday’s game is the first half of a back-to-back home-and-home set between the Red Wings (39-32-9; 87 points) and Canadiens (30-36-14; 74 points). Puck drop is set for 7 p.m., with television broadcast coverage simulcast on Bally Sports Detroit Extra and TV20 (WMYD) in Detroit. Radio coverage on the Red Wings Radio Network can be heard on WWJ Newsradio 950 in Detroit.

Monday also marks Fan Appreciation Night at Little Caesars Arena. Starting at 5 p.m. on the Via concourse, there will be face painters, interactive games, autograph signings from Red Wings alumni, live music and more. 

“(The fans) have been awesome this year,” DeBrincat said. “It’s been fun to play home games and to have them behind us. I’m sure today is going to be pretty loud too.”

The Red Wings remained in the Stanley Cup Playoffs race on Saturday, earning a 5-4 overtime win against the Toronto Maple Leafs, despite giving up a three-goal lead in the first period.

Five different players posted multi-point games for Detroit, which leads the NHL with 10 overtime victories this season.

With just three days left in the regular season, the race for the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot is coming down to the wire. Entering Monday, the Red Wings were in a three-way tie with the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers for the second wild-card spot -- all at 87 points apiece and one point ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins (86 points).

To qualify for the postseason, Detroit must earn at least three points against Montreal in the next two games because Washington and Philadelphia both have the tiebreaker with more regulation wins.

“We’re in a situation where I think we know we need two full points,” Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde said. “No different than probably where we were at in our last game in Toronto.”

Andrew Copp (broken cheekbone), who has missed the last two games, participated in Monday’s morning skate, but his status against the Canadiens is still to be determined.

“He’s still not completely comfortable,” Lalonde said about Copp, who wore a full face shield during Monday’s practice. “He’s still dealing with a lot of swelling, but he’s going to take warmups tonight. We’ll get a feel from there. Same lineup if he cannot go.”

Montreal currently ranks ninth in the Atlantic Division, and is eliminated from playoff contention. The Canadiens have dropped two straight games since their 9-3 win over the Flyers on April 9, most recently falling to the Ottawa Senators in overtime, 5-4, on Saturday.

Shayne Gostisbehere said Detroit can’t afford to take Montreal lightly despite its position in the standings.

“I’ve been on some teams like that in the past, where obviously there’s nothing really to play for,” Gostisbehere said. “But there’s always something to play for in the NHL. Guys are playing for jobs. I think for us, we’re going to play playoff-like hockey.”

Captain Nick Suzuki leads the Canadiens in goals (33) and points (76) this season, while Cole Caufield (27 goals, 37 assists) and Mike Matheson (11 goals, 51 assists) have combined for 126 points. Netminder Sam Montembeault has played 40 games for Montreal this season, posting a 16-15-8 record with a 3.10 goals-against average and .904 save percentage.

The Red Wings and Canadiens have played two overtime games this season, with the road club winning each time.

“They got a lot of skill,” DeBrincat said about the Canadiens. “That top-end talent over there can really make plays.”