Still Red Hot
Detroit, MI - With an overtime loss Monday, the Detroit Red Wings experienced a slight chill in their current hot streak.
Over the past 14 years, they haven't played cold against their next opponent Wednesday - the Montreal Canadiens - at Joe Louis Arena.
Detroit (14-2-4) has taken seven of its last home eight contests with the Montreal Canadiens (11-5-4). Despite splitting the last four meetings, the Red Wings also are 13-4-0 against Montreal since 1994.
Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Detroit -180 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 5.5 goals (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 75% of bets for this game have been placed on Detroit -180 (View NHL Bet Percentages).
The credit for Detroit's current 7-0-2 run goes to an offense that registers 3.65 goals per game. The Red Wings also boast the NHL's top power-play unit with a 32.9 percent conversion rate (28-for-85).
The key number for this game and the Red Wings' season to date is three.
When Detroit has scored at least three goals against the Canadiens since 1994, it is 11-0-0. When the Red Wings haven't, they are 2-4-0.
Monday's 3-2 overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks, which snapped a five-game win streak, was the first time Detroit scored fewer than three goals in nine November contests. It was also only the third time the Red Wings didn't reach three goals in a game this season, falling to 0-2-1 in those games.
Pavel Datsyuk scored one of the goals, extending his scoring streak to three games. He also has scored in three of the last four contests with Montreal.
Henrik Zetterberg hasn't scored a goal his last five games, but has five assists in a four-game points streak. He has a point in each of his four games versus Montreal, getting a goal and four assists.
Detroit has needed at least three goals because Chris Osgood has proved unreliable at keeping a lead. Osgood allowed the Canucks to score the tying goal with 2:25 left and get the winning score 2:33 into overtime.
"We let one slip away," coach Mike Babcock said. "We gave up 24 shots on the road and very few opportunities, and they were able to find a way to win."
In his previous start Thursday in Edmonton, Osgood (8-1-4) nearly squandered a three-goal lead in a 4-3 win, and the Red Wings could go back to Ty Conklin for this game.
Conklin (6-1-0) has won his last three starts but is 1-2-0 against Montreal with a 3.70 goals-against average. Osgood has lost three of his last four meetings with the Canadiens, posting a 3.02 GAA.
With a 4-4-3 mark this month, the Canadiens have slowed after going 7-1-1 in October. In its past two games, Montreal has lost consecutive games in shootouts, most recently Monday in a 4-3 loss to the New York Islanders.
Montreal's defense, giving up 2.55 goals per contest, has kept it competitive. However the Canadiens have scored more than three goals just once in their last 10 games - a 4-0 win over Ottawa on Nov. 11.
Additionally, Montreal has also converted just 15 of 100 power-play chances, and that has translated into a 3-2-3 record in one-goal games this month.
"We're going to try a lot more experiments because since the beginning of the season we've been leaving the same 10 players who are supposed to make the power play work, but it's not working,'' Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau said.
A better offense might have also overcome a costly mistake in Monday's game. Not realizing there was a delayed penalty on the Islanders, Ryan O'Byrne tried to pass the puck to goalie Carey Price, who had left for the bench. The own goal tied the game with less than five minutes left in regulation.
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Posted: 11/25/08 10:33 PM ET