Road trip starts well
The Canadiens won at the Joe for the first time since 2008 – and it wasn't easy.
They opened the scoring, never trailed and prevailed 5-4.
But undermanned Detroit, fighting desperately for a playoff spot, made an exciting game of it.
Tomas Plekanec scored twice, reaching the 20-goal plateau for the sixth time in his career.
Each member of the Number 1 line scored: David Desharnais got his 14th, Max Pacioretty with his 33rd and Tomas Vanek his 26th.
Detroit got goals from Riley Sheahan, Johan Franzen and two from Tomas Tatar. They outshot the Canadiens 30-29.
Too much excitement
Fice third-period goals – three of them by Detroit
After Tomas Tatar's two early goals tied the game at 3-3, Max Pacioretty's 33rd of the season restored the Canadiens' lead.
Tomas Vanek's 26th made it 5-3 ... but the easy breathing lasted 25 seconds.
Johan Franzen scored to make it 5-4 and set up a wild final nine minutes.
DD scores big one
Riley Sheahan got Detroit back in the game with a goal 1:28 into the second period.
The Canadiens then failed to score during a 5-on-3, and momentum was swinging over to the home side.
But Thomas Vanek fed David Desharnais for his 14th of the season to restore a two-goal lead.
Detroit hit a goal post behind Carey Price late in the period and outshot the Canadiens 11-10.
The Canadiens have not lost in regulation this season when leading after two periods.
Pleks pots pair
Tomas Plekanec reached the 20-goal plateau for the sixth time in his career with two shots that beat Jimmy Howard.
P.K. Subban made sweet passes to draw assists on both goals.
Detroit outshot the Canadiens 9-8, and Carey Price made a fine save on Tomas Jurco.
Detroit has made the playoffs every season since 1989-'90.
That's a long streak – but it's in jeopardy.
The Red Wings are one of four Eastern Conference teams with 80 points (the others are Columbus, Washington and Toronto). They currently hold down the last wild-card spot.
The Red Wings also have two wins in their previous games against the Canadiens this season: 4-1 at the Joe Louis Arena on Jan. 24, 2-1 in OT at the Bell Centre on Feb. 26.
The winning goal in the latter game was scored by Gustav Nyquist, who has goals in Detroit's last six games. He's taking up the slack created by injuries to Henrik Zetterberg, Stephen Weiss, Justin Abdelkader, Dan Cleary, Mikael Samuelsson and Pavel Datsyuk.
The game is the first of four on the road for the Canadiens, who are 20-14-2 away from home this season.
Puck drops in the Motor City 7:10ish.
Check back later for live game blogging.