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Canadiens aim to get back on track at home vs. Red Wings

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The Montreal Canadiens will try for a repeat of one of their few season highlights when they host the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night.

The Canadiens routed Detroit 6-1 on Oct. 23, a game also held in Montreal. That one-sided result was the Canadiens’ first victory of the season, and it stands as one of just two wins for the Habs in their nightmarish 2-8-0 start.

A four-game West Coast trip saw three more losses added to the Canadiens’ tally, including a 4-2 setback to the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday. The game was tied heading into the final 10 minutes before the Ducks scored twice to seal the victory.

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It seemed as though Montreal forward Nick Suzuki was starting to heat up with four assists in his previous three games, but Suzuki said Sunday was “probably one of my worst games,” and the frustration over his team’s start is evident.

“We’ve definitely dug ourselves a hole. … We haven’t done a great job of being consistent every single night,” Suzuki said. “That’s got to change. I feel like we’ve been talking about it a lot, but on the ice, something has got to change, and we have to be better.”

Facing the Red Wings has often been the cure for what has ailed the Canadiens in recent years. Dating to the 2013-14 season, Montreal is 20-7-1 in its last 28 games against Detroit.

The Wings are off to a respectable 4-3-2 start this season, though the club is winless (0-1-1) in its last two games. Detroit kicked off its four-game trip with a 5-4 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

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While the Red Wings kept things close against Toronto, they were hampered by multiple goals near the intermission breaks. Detroit allowed the Leafs to score within the last 20 seconds of both the first and second periods, and the Wings also allowed an Alexander Kerfoot goal just 17 seconds into the third period.

“It’s momentum, and you feel like, especially the late goals, you could’ve gotten out of those periods without giving them up,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. “We would’ve been lucky to get out (of the first period) without giving up a goal. We were right there, and we have to find a way to finish that period out, gain our feet a little bit better and get going. The one right away in the third hurts.”

Defenseman Moritz Seider extended his points streak to five games, with one assist in each game.

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Elsewhere on Detroit’s blue line, Gustav Lindstrom is questionable for Tuesday after missing the Red Wings’ last three games.

Since Thomas Greiss started against the Maple Leafs, Detroit’s goalie rotation should mean that Alex Nedeljkovic will be in net against the Canadiens. Nedeljkovic is 1-1-2 with a 3.27 goals-against average and .900 save percentage in five games this season.

Jake Allen likely will start for Montreal, as backup goalie Sam Montembeault got the call against Anaheim. Allen stopped 26 of 27 shots in the Canadiens’ win over Detroit on Oct. 23.

Montreal’s Brendan Gallagher is questionable for Tuesday after missing Sunday’s game due to an undisclosed injury. Cedric Paquette also might be unavailable should the league issue a disciplinary ruling, as Paquette was ejected for boarding Ducks forward Trevor Zegras on Sunday.

–Field Level Media

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