Tonight on NBCSN: Red Wings and Canadiens take us into All-Star Weekend

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They might both be original six teams, but the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens couldn’t possibly be having more opposite seasons. When the two teams square off tonight in Montreal (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN) the one thing the Canadiens have going for them against the Wings is that they’ve got them on their turf.

Detroit has been a terrorizing team at home this season and have strung together 17 wins in a row at Joe Louis Arena. On the road, however, the Wings are a totally different team sporting a 13-13-0 record. Comparing that with their 20-2-1 record in Detroit and you’ve got a team that has an obvious Achilles’ heel. All that aside though, the Wings have won seven in a row and would love to go into the break making it eight.

For coach Mike Babcock, he’ll hope that his college town homecoming (he’s a McGill graduate) will help provide a semblance of comfort for the Wings. Meanwhile, look for Jimmy Howard to again be the man in goal while continuing to get great offensive play of late from Pavel Datsyuk, Todd Bertuzzi, Johan Franzen, Nicklas Lidstrom, and Niklas Kronwall.

For Montreal, things this season haven’t been all that hot. You know all about the strife with head coach Randy Cunneyworth by now and Scott Gomez’s inability to score a goal this season has added fuel to the disdain Habs fans have for him. Lately, P.K. Subban has come under fire for his struggles defensively. Given that he’s just 22-years-old and playing in the NHL’s biggest fishbowl, he’s handling things rather well.

Lately, Montreal has lost seven of their last 11 games but are coming off an inspiring win against Toronto on Saturday night. They’ll need to use any momentum gained from that victory tonight to try and keep the Wings in check.

At least Montreal has Rene Bourque’s goal scoring and toughness added to their team, something Detroit knows all too well from his Calgary and Chicago days. The Habs will be hoping that Carey Price can withstand the barrage that the Wings will throw at him tonight.

Ducks take control of second in Pacific after edging Oilers

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Connor McDavid was fantastic on Wednesday, but the Anaheim Ducks overcame his strong showing for a significant win in the Pacific.

McDavid scored a goal and two assists, yet Ryan Getzlaf was right there with him with three assists, helping the Ducks win 4-3.

With that, Anaheim is clearly ahead of Edmonton for second in the Pacific. The Ducks would hold home-ice over the Oilers if the playoffs began today, and better yet for them, a division title isn’t out of the question:

1. Sharks – 91 points in 73 games played
2. Ducks – 89 points in 73 GP
3. Oilers – 87 points in 73 GP
4. Flames – 86 points in 73 GP

As you can see, the Oilers aren’t exactly far ahead of the Flames for third, either.

Going forward, the Oilers have an interesting schedule: a mix of games against cellar dwellers (two apiece against the Canucks and Avalanche) plus two games apiece versus the Kings and Sharks.

The Ducks’ schedule includes two matches against the Flames, one against the Kings and one more match at Edmonton on April 1.

Long story short, the jockeying for position is far from over, but this was a pretty significant win for the Ducks.

Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)

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Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.

Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.

McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).

Islanders grab precious points by beating Rangers

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The goal posts might move from time to time – now they’re chasing the Boston Bruins more than the Toronto Maple Leafs – but the bottom line is that the New York Islanders need to get it done to make the playoffs.

They still have some climbing to do, but Wednesday represented a step in the right direction with a tough 3-2 win against the New York Rangers.

The Rangers built 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period as John Tavares struggled with a “hat trick” of penalties, but Tavares & Co. wouldn’t give up. They managed two power-play goals in the third (one by Nikolay Kulemin, the winner by Andrew Ladd) to turn things around for a significant win.

Anders Lee was also a big part of the win, grabbing a goal and an assist. The biggest difference-maker may very well have been Thomas Greiss, who stopped 34 of 36 shots (including all 11 in the third) as the Rangers created a lot of offense.

The Islanders now have 80 standings points, placing them two behind the Bruins for the East’s final wild card spot.

The Rangers’ hold over the first wild card seems quite secure, but they do have to worry ever so slightly about their play at home. With this defeat, they’ve now lost seven straight (0-5-2) at Madison Square Garden.

Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style

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Rick Nash has his critics stemming from his playoff struggles in the past, but for those who support him, moments like these are satisfying.

Why? Because you’d be absurd to discredit how hard he tries when Nash scores goals like he did for the New York Rangers against the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

Nash went all-out for his 20th goal of the season, sprawling after scoring against Thomas Greiss. It’s quite a sight, and Getty Images really was on top of that one.

via Getty Images

The Rangers may need more from him tonight, however, as the Islanders just went up 3-2. Watch the remainder of the contest on NBCSN.