The Detroit Red Wings have endured mind-boggling struggles on their home ice but they will go for back-to-back victories at Joe Louis Arena for the first time since mid-October when they host the Montreal Canadiens on Friday night.
The Red Wings outlasted defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago on Wednesday night, only their eighth victory overall at home and their third win in 10 shootouts. Detroit will also be seeking to register back-to-back wins overall for the first time since Dec. 19-21.
Similar to the Red Wings, Montreal has also been unable to get on any kind of run - posting consecutive victories only once and going 8-9-2 over its last 19 games. The Canadiens have dropped two straight entering the finale of a four-game road trip and continue to surrender goals at an alarming rate, yielding 18 over their 1-3-0 stretch.
"We’re trying to find solutions because we’re all aware we need to be better defensively,” coach Michel Therrien said after switching his defensive pairings at Thursday's practice.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, TSN, RDS (Montreal), FSN Detroit
ABOUT THE CANADIENS (27-18-5): Carey Price will make his sixth consecutive start in net but he has allowed nine goals on his last 41 shots and was yanked in the third period of Wednesday's 5-1 loss to Pittsburgh. Price went through a similar stretch from Dec. 31 to Jan. 4, giving up 13 goals during a three-game stretch, but said he won't feel any more pressure playing in front of Detroit coach Mike Babcock, who will also guide Team Canada at the Olympics.
“We’re not trying to do anything other than get two points for our hockey club at this point," Price said.
ABOUT THE RED WINGS (22-18-10): Detroit is getting some of its injured players back, with goaltender Jonas Gustavsson and defenseman Jonathan Ericsson returning to the lineup Wednesday after missing nine and 10 games, respectively. With Jimmy Howard sidelined by a groin injury, Gutavsson will be in net again for the Red Wings, who could also have Daniel Alfredsson back in the lineup after he sat out the past six games due to back spasms.
"Physically, I'm fine. I didn't skate for 10 days at least, but I've had three good sessions here in a row and no setbacks," Alfredsson told the team's website.
1. Montreal is making its first visit to Detroit since Dec. 10, 2010.
2. Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg had three assists Wednesday to give him six points during a three-game streak.
3. David Desharnais scored twice in the last meeting between the teams, a 7-2 Montreal victory in Jan 25, 2012.