DETROIT, Mich. (Detroit Free Press) -- For every time the Detroit Red Wings threatened, the Montreal Canadiens showed them who does it better.
The Wings twice chipped away at two-goal deficits tonight at Joe Louis Arena, only to end up losing, 5-4, retaining eighth place in the Eastern Conference because no one who could threaten them played.
The Wings used a pair of goals from Tomas Tatar to pull even within five minutes of the third period, rallying from a two-goal deficit. Riley Sheahan had Detroit's first goal.
The Canadiens spoiled the Wings' just-earned confidence by scoring a minute after Tatar's second goal. the game, with Max Pacioretty scoring on a deflection. Tomas Vanek tipped Andrei Markov's shot to give Montreal its second two-goal lead of the game, but Johan Franzen reduced it to one 20 seconds later when his shot hit the cross bar and went in.
The Wings trailed by a pair of goals after the first period, despite outshooting the Canadiens and winning nearly twice as many faceoffs. Carey Price had a lot to do with that -- he made several stops from in close, and if the shot came on a rush he managed to avoid giving the Wings a rebound shot. Tomas Plekanec couldn't touch the puck without scoring, on the other hand, firing one puck from the right circle that sailed by Jimmy Howard and then whipping in a one-timer off a sweet set-up by P.K. Subban during 4-on-4 play.
Proving that sticking with hard work does pay off, the Wings halved their deficit a minute into the second period. Sheahan held the puck long enough to get off a good shot that beat Price stick side. Bertuzzi drove the net soon after, as the Wings continued to surge --- and then Howard took over for a stretch that included 29 seconds worth of a 5-on-3 Montreal power play. Luke Glendening began the 5-on-4 kill with a shorthanded attempt, pulling up before firing a backhand that Price kicked away. Howard then made a pad save on Andrei Markov, followed by a quick slide to deny what looked like a home-run chance for Vanek, who was all alone by the left side.
The Habs stuck with it, too, though -- and David Desharnais made it 3-1 after Vanek cued up the puck from behind the net midway through the second period. Franzen bulldozed his way to the net when Detroit got a power play late in the period, but Price had plenty of time to prepare for the door-step shot. Franzen saw his next shot clank off the left goal post and slide into the paint as Price sat on it.
After having moved into seventh place Monday, the Wings have lost two straight. They next play Saturday at Toronto, with nine games remaining in the regular season.