Canadiens vs. Red Wings Preview
While the Canadiens try to match a season high with their fourth straight win, the Red Wings attempt to snap a season-worst, three-game skid Friday night at Joe Louis Arena.
Montreal (18-8-2) has gotten off to a strong start thanks largely to goaltender Carey Price, who has thrived since the departure of playoff hero Jaroslav Halak to St. Louis.
Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Red Wings –148 money line favorites for Friday's game against the Canadiens. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 82% of more than 370 bets for this game have been placed on the Red Wings -148.
Trends show that Detroit is 98-39 ATS in all non-conference games since 1996.
Price has a career-best 1.92 goals-against average in 26 games, yielding one goal in each of his last three starts and five of six.
He didn't allow San Jose or Ottawa to score after the first period in his past two, paving the way for the Canadiens to break 1-all ties in each. With Price keeping the Senators at bay Tuesday night, Jeff Halpern, Brian Gionta and Roman Hamrlik scored in the third period of a 4-1 victory.
"(Price) covers up a lot of mistakes that we make as a team, but he also gives us confidence to feel good about the way we're playing and to get on things," Halpern said.
While Price has shined, the Red Wings' offense has dulled a little during an 0-2-1 slump. Detroit (17-6-3) has scored two goals in each of those defeats following a 9-1-1 run during which it averaged 3.9 goals.
The Red Wings couldn't overcome an early two-goal deficit in Wednesday night's 3-2 defeat to Nashville. Johan Franzen scored his sixth goal in 10 games but couldn't prevent Detroit from suffering consecutive regulation losses for the first time this season.
The Red Wings haven't failed to record a point in three consecutive games since last Dec. 19-23. They're also looking to avoid suffering three regulation defeats in a row at Joe Louis for the first time since March 27-April 2, 2009.
"Anytime you don't get any points for a couple of games, you better rebound," coach Mike Babcock said. "Now we got a real tough team in Montreal to play, so that should be a lot of fun."
Detroit could use better performances from second-leading scorer Henrik Zetterberg and captain Nicklas Lidstrom.
Zetterberg has gone pointless in five of the past eight games, a stretch during which Lidstrom has no goals and one assist. Each player had 20 points through the first 18 games this season.
Scoring leader Pavel Datsyuk has three goals since the beginning of November but has provided 17 assists. He has five goals and an assist in seven games versus the Canadiens.
Datsyuk and Zetterberg scored against Price in a shootout to give Detroit a 3-2 win in last season's lone matchup between the teams.
Montreal's Michael Cammalleri scored twice in the third period to force overtime, and he has seven points in his last four games against the Red Wings.
Cammalleri has scored in each of the Canadiens' last two games, but he has no goals in his last nine on the road. Gionta and Hamrlik each have six points during Montreal's current 4-0-1 stretch.
Price's only win in three career starts against the Red Wings came in Montreal's last trip to Joe Louis, a 3-1 victory Nov. 26, 2008.
Detroit could start Jimmy Howard, who beat Price in last season's matchup, but he has allowed a total of eight goals in consecutive defeats after surrendering six during a four-game win streak.