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Detroit Red Wings impressive against Montreal Canadiens despite loss

The Detroit Red Wings dropped a hard-fought game against the league-best Montreal Canadiens Saturday night in overtime, losing 2-1. While Montreal denied the Red Wings of a third consecutive win, the Red Wings were the better team throughout the game and arguably would have won if it weren’t for Carey Price.

The Red Wings outshot the Canadiens 33-24, which is a stat they have been dominated in for most of this season. They also had the edge in face-off percentage (56%-44%) and hits (31-26). Despite losing Brendan Smith and Tyler Bertuzzi to injuries in the game, the Red Wings had multiple scoring chances against the Canadiens in the third period that could have secured a victory. Carey Price absolutely robbed Henrik Zetterberg on a one-time pass from Anthony Mantha, and Frans Nielsen simply missed a wide open net after a nice feed from Danny DeKeyser.

Youngsters Anthony Mantha and Ryan Sproul continue to impress for the Red Wings. Mantha has two goals (both beauties) and two assists since being called up, and Sproul has five points in just eleven games. Mantha and Sproul will continue to improve with experience, and their futures look bright for Detroit.

Perhaps the most promising note from Saturday night’s game is the play of Petr Mrazek. The Red Wings had been riding the red-hot play of Jimmy Howard up until he injured his groin against Buffalo, as Mrazek has struggled so far this season. However, Mrazek looked like his old self against the Canadiens, stopping 22 of 24 shots including a highlight-reel glove save in the first period.

The Red Wings hope Mrazek will be able to build on his strong performance and re-claim the starting position. Let’s not forget that Mrazek was performing like a Vezina Trophy candidate for most of last season.

While the Red Wings have been hit by the injury bug as of late, Jeff Blashill’s line combinations seem to finally be working. Detroit looked strong on the forecheck, they were physical, and they generated scoring chances. If they can capitalize on these scoring chances and get Mrazek back to form, they will be making a strong push for a 26th consecutive playoff appearance.

 

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