|4:30 PM PT5:30 PM MT6:30 PM CT7:30 PM ET23:30 GMT7:30 4:30 PM MST6:30 PM EST3:30 UAE (+1)19:30 ET20:30 BRT, March 12, 2019
Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec Attendance: 21,302
Canadiens rested, ready for Red Wings
Following a disappointing West Coast trip, the Montreal Canadiens could take solace in two things: They received a three-day break from action and they return home to play the woeful Detroit Red Wings.
The Canadiens, who are fighting for a playoff berth, dropped two of three games during their trip out West. They were outscored 13-4 in the last two games, including an 8-2 thumping by the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night.
"We're in a fight for a playoff spot, so you would've liked to see better from your team," head coach Claude Julien said. "We have players who we needed more from. To win, it takes a whole team. We didn't have that (Friday). Back-to-back games are part of the league. We have to learn to manage these games better."
Montreal's defense has fallen apart in its last three losses, allowing at least five goals in each of those outings.
"It was a little bit unacceptable, for sure," defenseman Mike Reilly told NHL.com. "Just how important these last games are for us, and what we can accomplish, and what we know we can accomplish, that's a pretty big letdown."
The three-day gap since that debacle is the longest layoff they'll have the remainder of the regular season. They'll cram 13 games into the next 3 1/2 weeks, with seven at home and six on the road.
They can complete a sweep of the four-game season series against the Red Wings on Tuesday. Montreal posted a 7-3 home win on Oct. 15, eked out a 3-2 victory in Detroit on Jan. 8, then hammered the Wings 8-1 in their last visit to Little Caesars Arena on Feb. 26.
"The West Coast swing, when you come out to Cali, is definitely tough," Reilly said. "We were on the road before that, too, and came home quick, so we've kind of been running around and playing a lot of hockey. I think this next gap of rest is going to be huge for us, and we've got to come back Tuesday ready to go."
The Red Wings are also coming off an ugly loss. They were clobbered by the Florida Panthers 6-1 on Sunday night. That defeat came one night after the Wings gave the powerful Tampa Bay Lightning a tough battle and lost by just a goal.
"This is embarrassing, it's not fun," left wing Thomas Vanek told the team's website. "It (stinks) but you put it behind you and tomorrow is a new day and you've got to rebuild. You've got to bring a lot more energy on Tuesday and go for a win."
The Wings are just 1-7-3 in their last 11 games and Vanek was alarmed by the team's effort against the Panthers.
"We're already out of it (the playoff chase), so there's no time to pout and sit around and feel bad," he said. "There's a lot of guys here that still have a lot to play for, not just for this year but for the rest of their careers and they better realize it quickly, because there's a lot of good players coming up."
The Wings have played the past three games without leading scorer Dylan Larkin, who has been dealing with back and neck issues. Coach Jeff Blashill said Larkin might be able to rejoin the team in Montreal if he's cleared to play after getting reevaluated.
--Field Level Media
Updated March 11, 2019