What goes up, must come down. Vice versa, too.
The once-cold Detroit Red Wings are riding their longest point streak in almost six years and could send the suddenly slumping Montreal Canadiens to their lengthiest drought in nearly two.
If the Red Wings can continue their surge Thursday night at Joe Louis Arena, they could avoid recording their worst losing streak in 89 years of this Original Six rivalry.
After an inconsistent first six weeks of the season which included a 1-5-1 slump in October, Detroit has rattled off an 11-game point streak over the last three weeks. The Red Wings (15-8-5) are 7-0-4 during that span for their longest point streak since a 10-0-2 spurt March 11-April 3, 2010.
Detroit ranked toward the bottom of the NHL with 2.18 goals per game through Nov. 15 but has since averaged 3.18. The offense exploded with 14 goals on a three-game winning streak, which looked as if it might extend to four Tuesday at Washington.
Instead, the Capitals rallied to hand the Red Wings a 3-2 shootout loss, only their fourth game with fewer than three goals in the last 11.
The point streak remains thanks in large part to Jimmy Howard. Granted, he was beaten midway through the third period to force overtime and allowed goals on both shootout attempts, but Howard finished with a season-high 38 saves.
''I think when you get to overtime, when you get to shootout you're leaving it to chance a little bit,'' coach Jeff Blashill said. ''That's the reality of life sometimes.''
The Canadiens (19-7-3) were the highest-scoring team in the league with 3.54 goals per game through Nov. 27, but they have totaled just nine in their last five games.
The last three contests were regulation losses, and Montreal hasn't gone longer without recording a point since a four-game slide Jan. 18-25, 2014.
The Canadiens held a one-goal lead well into the third period Wednesday against Boston but came away with a 3-1 home loss.
"I'm not worried," defenseman P.K. Subban told the Canadiens' official website. "There's a lot of hockey left to be played. The good thing is that we turn around and have a game (Thursday) against a good team. ... That's all I'm looking forward to now, the next game."
That next one comes against a team Montreal has beaten seven straight times. The only other time the Canadiens won that many in a row over the Red Wings was a seven-game streak spanning 1943 and '44.
Tomas Plekanec has keyed the Canadiens' current run in the series with at least point in all seven games, totaling six goals and four assists, but he hasn't scored in 13 straight games.
Montreal won 4-1 at home Oct. 17 in the only meeting this season for the sixth of nine consecutive regulation wins to open the season.
Petr Mrazek allowed three goals on 40 shots that day, and it's unclear if he will make his second career start against the Canadiens. Howard has lost his last five starts against them, posting a 3.25 goals-against average.
Dustin Tokarski will make his first start in net this season for Montreal, which remains without injured star goalie Carey Price. Tokarski relieved Mike Condon in a 6-1 loss to Colorado on Nov. 14 in his only appearance, finishing with 11 saves while allowing two goals.