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RED WINGS (26-20-12) at CANADIENS (32-21-6)
TV: RDS, TSN, FS-D
Last 10: Detroit 5-3-2; Montreal 5-4-1
Season series: The Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens resume the 2013-14 season with the second of four games. The Red Wings defeated the Canadiens 4-1 on Jan. 24 at Joe Louis Arena, but lost 7-2 at Bell Centre on Jan. 25, 2012.
Big story: The Red Wings arrive trailing the Canadiens by six points in the Atlantic Division with 24 games remaining. Despite a bevy of injuries, Detroit entered the Olympic break 5-3-2 in its past 10 games with a 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in its final game before the two-week hiatus.
The Canadiens hold the third and final guaranteed playoff spot in the Atlantic Division and entered the break on a three-game winning streak. Montreal rebounded from a season-worst four-game skid in late January to go 5-1-1 in seven games and looks to continue the momentum against a division rival.
"They're a veteran group," Canadiens forward Brian Gionta said. "They've got guys who know how to win. You have to be aware of their offense, but they do a good job of not giving you too much time and space through the neutral zone. We've got to find a way to penetrate, making sure that we support each other across the blue line and creating chances so that we're not just chasing the puck all night."
Red Wings: Detroit owns the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot by one point, so the Red Wings know they will be in a dogfight to extend their run of Stanley Cup Playoff appearances to 23 seasons.
"We have to make sure that every single day we're really dialed in and prepared to do everything it takes to get our wins," associate coach Tom Renney told the Detroit Free Press. "Try to win 1-0. So be it. I don't think we're as decimated as maybe some would like to believe."
Canadiens: After winning a gold medal for Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, goalie Carey Price was forced from Montreal's morning skate Wednesday and will miss the next two games with a lower-body injury he aggravated while playing for Canada.
Dustin Tokarski was called up from Hamilton of the American Hockey League to back up Peter Budaj. Coach Michel Therrien announced Tuesday that Budaj would start with the Canadiens beginning a stretch of seven games in 11 days.
"We understand we're going through a tough part of our schedule," Therrien said. "This is faster than a playoff run, so it's going to be really demanding on the players."
Who's hot: Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall has five points in three games. Forward Gustav Nyquist has seven points (five goals, two assists) in his past five. … Canadiens center David Desharnais has three goals and two assists in his past five games. Right wing Brendan Gallagher had two assists in a Feb. 8 win against the Carolina Hurricanes and eight points in his past five.
Injury report: Red Wings center Stephen Weiss (sports hernia) will miss the next two games but will continue to practice and could be back next Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils. Defenseman Jakub Kindl (knee) will not play against the Canadiens, but Detroit will return center Pavel Datsyuk (knee) and forward Johan Franzen (concussion) is a game-time decision. Forward and captain Henrik Zetterberg (back surgery) is out at least the next eight weeks. Center Cody Emmerton (finger) is on injured reserve. ... Canadiens forwards Alex Galchenyuk (broken hand) and Travis Moen (lower body) will return Wednesday. Forwards Brandon Prust (upper body) and Michael Bournival (concussion) are day-to-day and will not play. Defenseman Davis Drewiske (shoulder surgery) is on IR.
Follow Jon Lane on Twitter: @JonLaneNHL
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