Off the heels of their first win in nearly a month, the Red Wings look to claim a second win in a row. They take on Atlantic Division rival Montreal to do so, who Detroit actually beat back on Oct. 10 in a 4-2 decision. The lineup gets a huge boost with the return of Anthony Mantha. Mantha was sidelined the last eight games and his presence was sorely missed.

Despite a bumpy start to the season, the Canadiens have been on a roll as of late, winning four of their past five games. They currently sit third in the Atlantic with a 15-11-6 record.

Projected Lines

Detroit Red Wings

The line to keep an eye on is the second unit. With Mantha’s return, head coach Jeff Blashill has opted to pair him with Val Filppula and Filip Zadina. Zadina is coming off a three point game on Friday but has yet to play with high-end linemates. Mantha should pair nicely with the Czech winger.

Andreas Athanasiou is also back in the lineup after missing the past two games. He’ll sub in on a newly formed third line with Luke Glendening and Darren Helm. The rest of the lineup remains intact. Dylan Larkin and Patrik Nemeth are both sick but are expected to play.

Montreal Canadiens

The depth of this Montreal lineup is a mixed bag. The top-line of Tomas Tatar, Phillip Danault, and Brendan Gallagher can be one of the league’s most formidable groupings when they are on their game. Gallagher, in particular, has made an argument as the most underrated player in the NHL, scoring 14 goals in 32 games this season.

Take a glance at the bottom-9 and it looks quite average on paper. The Habs will be without Jesperi Kotkaniemi after suffering a nasty looking head injury last week. The bottom line, however, is rated as the No. 1 fourth line in the NHL, per Corsica Player ratings. So that is pretty impressive.

Three Thoughts

1.) Mantha back on the powerplay

As mentioned before, Mantha will skate on a line with Filppula and Zadina tonight. However, how Mantha’s presence affects the powerplay is up in the air. Before the injury, Mantha set up his office from the right circle on the No. 1 unit. He’s turned into a lethal triggerman with his shot.

The problem is Zadina has taken over that spot and performed quite well, scoring four of his six points on the man-advantage. Mantha should slide back into that role which leaves Zadina in limbo. Would the coaching staff prefer to keep him on the No. 1 unit in a different role, or rather the right circle position on the second unit?

Keep an eye out for that heading into the game. Due to today’s morning skate being optional, we don’t have powerplay groupings to go off of.

2.) Riding the momentum

Early November was the last time the Red Wings have won consecutive games in a row. Its been quite some time and snapping the 13-game losing streak on Friday is the first step. They already have Montreal’s number on the season, so things might play out in their favor.

Goaltending will be a key factor in determining tonight’s victor. Carey Price will most likely be in net for the Habs. Price is coming off a 33 save, .970 save percentage performance on Tuesday. The former Hart Trophy winner has been on his game as of late and will be tough to beat tonight.

3.) Tatar thriving

Red Wings fans know Tomas Tatar quite well. After spending 5 seasons in Detroit, Tatar found himself in Montreal after a brief stint with the Vegas Golden Knights. “Tuna” as he’s come to be known by Habs fans, has carved out a nice season with his new team. He has 28 points in 32 games this season. The year prior he posted 25 goals and 58 points in 80 games.

Tatar got vengeance on his former team last year with a couple of goals. He’ll want to find his way back on the scoreboard yet again in this matchup.