DETROIT — A pair of teams moving in opposite directions meet when the Detroit Red Wings host the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday at Little Caesars Arena.
Detroit is winless in its past five games (0-2-3) while the Canadiens are riding a three-game winning streak after a 2-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night in Montreal.
The Red Wings lost 4-1 at home to the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday.
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“I think if we could have won two of the (recent) games in overtime, we’d have been fine, but we haven’t,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said after the game Tuesday, according to Booth Newspapers. “So now we have tons of urgency on Thursday.”
The Red Wings are in the middle of a stretch in which they play 13 of 18 games at home. They are 4-4-4 at Little Caesars Arena.
Detroit led 1-0 on Tuesday late in the second period, thanks to defenseman Mike Green’s goal in the first period.
However, Los Angeles right winger Dustin Brown tied it with 2:17 left in the second, and center Anze Kopitar put the Kings ahead for good with just 6.1 seconds left in the middle period. Los Angeles forward Adrian Kempe scored 58 seconds into the third period.
“That second, third goal, tough ones, kind of kills the game,” said Red Wings center and captain Henrik Zetterberg, who hasn’t scored a goal in 18 games. “It’s a tough team to be behind against, and they’re playing a certain style that’s tiring when you’re not scoring on your chances … We have to find a way to be more determined.”
The 18-game scoring drought is the longest of Zetterberg’s career.
“Hank’s a big-time competitor. He’s a big-time warrior,” Blashill said. “He wants to help this team win. I don’t know if it’s wearing on him, he’s been through lots of this throughout his career. The year I was here as an assistant (2011-12), the first half of the year was a real struggle for him, and he was unreal the second half.
“He’ll keep doing what he does, which is working his (rear) off and competing like crazy, and I think in the end, he’ll get results.”
Zetterberg has seven assists during the goalless stretch.
“Obviously, it’s not fun when you don’t score,” he said, “so I take big responsibility in that.”
Goaltender Carey Price made 27 saves for Montreal on Wednesday night, and centers Jonathan Drouin (penalty shot) and Phillip Danault scored 2:18 apart early in the second period.
Price has allowed two goals on 102 shots since returning Nov. 25 from a lower-body injury that sidelined him for 10 games.
“You come into the room, you see how focused he is and you know he’s going to have a good night,” Drouin said of Price. “He’s so composed out there, it’s actually kind of crazy to look at. He comes to the bench and he’s not sweating almost, just so relaxed, and it’s a first for me to see that, but so composed and gives us so much confidence playing.”
Said Canadiens defenseman Karl Alzner: “You know you can mess up a little bit out there and he’s most likely going to back you up, and that’s something that feels pretty good. And what a joy it is having him play the puck the way he does. It saves you from getting hit quite a bit.”
Sportsnet reported that Drouin didn’t travel with the team to Detroit postgame, but no other details were available.