Detroit Red Wings vs. Montreal Canadiens Pick & Prediction APRIL 15th 2024

The Detroit Red Wings enter Monday night’s home game against the Montreal Canadiens with their playoff hopes fully alive after being on life support on Saturday.

Playing at Toronto, the Red Wings needed at least one point to avoid being mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.

The situation got even more tense when a lethal Maple Leafs offense went on a power play with 2:45 remaining in regulation and the game tied at 4-4.

But the Red Wings managed to kill the penalty, then got the point they needed by forcing overtime. They got an extra point by winning the game, 5-4, on Dylan Larkin’s power-play goal.

Now, Detroit enters its last home game of the regular season very much in the playoff mix.

The Red Wings (39-32-9, 87 points) enter Monday in a three-way tie with Washington and Philadelphia for the second and final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Detroit needs to finish ahead of those teams in the standings because both the Capitals and Flyers own the tiebreaker over the Red Wings based on regulation wins.

Washington (38-31-11, 87 points) and Philadelphia (38-32-11, 87 points) play each other to close the regular season, meaning one of those two teams is guaranteed to get at least 89 points. Detroit knows it needs a minimum of three points in its final two games to qualify for the postseason.

The game in Detroit will be the first of a back-to-back between the Red Wings and Canadiens. The teams will play again on Tuesday in Montreal to close out the regular season.

“We’ve got Montreal, and man, that’s dangerous, the way they’ve been going,” Larkin said. “We’ve been in that position that they’re in, and it’s a whole different ballgame of what we’ve been playing, these playoff-style games. We need to show up and have our foot on the gas.”

To Larkin’s point, Montreal has been a dangerous team to play even though it has long been eliminated from playoff contention.

In the past three weeks, Montreal (30-36-14, 74 points) has beaten Colorado on the road and Florida and Philadelphia at home. The Canadiens are coming off Saturday’s 5-4 shootout loss against the Ottawa Senators, but they’ve been able to compete with a few of the league’s best teams.

There’s been no hotter player for the Canadiens than forward Cole Caufield, who has scored seven goals in Montreal’s past seven games. He found the back of the net twice on Saturday in the setback against Ottawa.

“I think pucks are just finding their way in,” Caufield said. “Chances are coming. I’m just going to try and keep that going.”

Monday could mark the debut of one of Montreal’s top prospects. On Friday, the Canadiens signed 20-year-old defenseman Lane Hutson to an entry-level contract after his college season ended with Boston University.

Hutson, drafted in the second round (62nd overall) in 2022, is a Michigan native.

This season’s previous two meetings between the teams have gone into overtime. The Canadiens prevailed 3-2 on Nov. 9 in Detroit, and the Red Wings won 5-4 on Dec. 2 at Montreal.

–Field Level Media

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