Detroit Red Wings (26-20-12) at Montreal Canadiens (32-21-6)
|Date & Time||Wednesday February 26, 2014, 7:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: Montreal Canadiens -152 / Detroit Red Wings +138 --- Over/Under: 5
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The Canadiens look to close the gap in the Atlantic division as they host a shorthanded Red Wings team who will be without Henrik Zetterberg.
The Detroit Red Wings have had an up and down season so far – their first in the Eastern Conference in quite some time – but things have gone from bad to worse as they will be without Henrik Zetterberg for the rest of the regular season after he had back surgery. The Wings will have to pick up the slack offensively in Zetterberg’s absence and while they certainly have the personnel to do so they might be hard pressed to sneak into the playoffs considering the other teams challenging for the wild card positions. Jimmy Howard gets the call here for the red and white as he has had plenty of time to get some rest as he failed to appear in the Olympics for the United States and while the matchup people were looking for involving Carey Price at the other end they will have to settle for Petr Budaj as Price gets a well deserved night off.
The Canadiens were well represented in Sochi but no one performed quite as well as Carey Price did in the Canadian goal as he blanked the United States and Sweden in consecutive games to help secure the gold medal. The focus shifts back to the NHL now but Price will have to wait another day to get back into the swing of things as he will be watching from the bench and while that may concern some onlookers, Budaj has been brilliant in relief this season. Montreal is right in the mix in the Atlantic division as their three game winning streak before the break has them within a point of the Lightning for second place and while a division title looks like a tough task at the moment it is certainly not out of the question. Montreal will look to give the home fans something to cheer about in their first game back and while they are getting too much love in this spot due to the Detroit injuries I do think they are the play here and should be treated as such if you’re going to play a side.