DETROIT — There’s not a lot of familiarity between the Wings and their next opponent, the Montreal Canadiens, which makes sense since the teams last played nearly two years ago.
The teams last met on Jan. 25, 2012 in Montreal with the Canadiens thumping the Wings, 7-2.
The Original Six opponents meet Friday at Joe Louis Arena.
“Those Original Six rivalries really never die, they might go to sleep for a while,” Brendan Smith said. “I don’t think you think of Anaheim and Detroit as a rivalry, but it was created just because of the playoffs and how hard we play each other. We could have the same thing with Montreal by regaining that rivalry and it will be interesting when we play them (Friday) and see how things go.”
The teams last met at Joe Louis Arena on Dec. 10, 2010, with the Wings winning 4-2.
“It’s an historic franchise going back to a lot of years,” said former Ottawa Senator Daniel Alfredsson, who has faced the Canadiens the most among those inside the Wings’ locker room. “I think in Montreal hockey is the sport, it’s followed by pretty much everybody in the city and everybody knows everything about the team, pretty much. It’s probably the favorite building to go to, to play a road game because of the atmosphere. I think because of their history it’s always a game you get up for.”
“I definitely disliked them because they were Montreal and we were Toronto growing up and that rivalry was huge,” Smith said. “We never wanted to see Montreal come in and beat us – Toronto at the time. I didn’t like many of their players, but that goes the same for other teams like Ottawa, I guess I disliked Alfie at that time too. That’s kind of funny how you grow up like that.”
It’s the first of four meetings between the teams.
“The rivalry between the (Toronto Maple) Leafs and the Canadiens was always a big one for me and I always enjoyed watching those games,” Riley Sheahan said. “Montreal was one of those teams where I always hoped the Leafs would come out on top, so it’s going to be a good game. They have lots of skill and it will cross over into our game and it will be a good one.”
The Wings face a Canadiens team that’s just five points ahead of them in the Atlantic Division standings.
“They’re a quick team and have some high end talent,” Wings coach Babcock said. “They’re goaltending’s outstanding so it’s going to be a handful. I think we’re (five) points behind them if I’m not mistaking and we play them (four) times so these are important games for us. We’re going to have to compete real hard. Obviously we’re a team that doesn’t score great deal right now so we got to really compete defensively and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”