Preview: Wild at Canadiens
The Minnesota Wild have begun to show signs of turning things around and hope to add to that momentum while continuing their mastery in the series when they visit the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night. The Wild have won three of their last four contests, including the first two of a four-game road trip, and go for a ninth straight victory against the Canadiens after routing them 7-1 on Dec. 11 at home.
“Our focus was just to build off (the 4-3 win at Toronto on Thursday) and kind of get a little snowball going here,” Minnesota forward Jordan Greenway told reporters after a 4-3 win over Ottawa on Saturday. “I think we’re doing the right things and it’s leading to good things on the scoreboard for us.” The Wild have outscored Montreal 23-5 in their last four meetings and left wing Zach Parise scored one goal and set up two others in the victory last month to push his total to 28 points in 33 career contests against the Canadiens. Montreal had won five of six games before coming out slow and suffering a 4-1 loss against Nashville on Saturday, but the Canadiens expect to be more than ready for Monday’s battle. “As a professional athlete, it’s not fun to be embarrassed like that,” right wing Brendan Gallagher told the Montreal Gazette of the 7-1 loss at Minnesota. “It was tough walking out of the arena after being beat that badly and we want to respond better (Monday).
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FS North (Minnesota), RDS, TSN2 (Montreal)
ABOUT THE WILD (20-17-3): Parise boasts four goals and five assists during a five-game point streak while skating on a recently constructed line with Charlie Coyle (six points, last four games) and Luke Kunin (four assists, last four games). “Every team in the NHL has a line that’s a go-to line,” coach Bruce Boudreau told reporters. “We’re hoping that we get another one, because the good teams have more than one, but right now, that’s our go-to line.” Parise is tied for the team lead in points (38) with fellow forward Mikael Granlund, who has no goals and 14 assists in his last 15 games.
ABOUT THE CANADIENS (22-15-5): Montreal has not been able to get its power play going despite having a skillful group, sitting 30th in the league entering Sunday at 13 percent, and faces the Wild’s third-ranked penalty kill (84.7). Leading scorer Max Domi (38 points) has cooled off considerably, going 12 games without a goal despite registering seven assists in that stretch. Gallagher tops the team with 15 goals, but has managed just three assists in his last seven games, while center Phillip Danualt has been wielding a hot stick with five goals and four assists over the last seven contests.
1. Montreal G Carey Price is just 4-6-0 with a 3.14 goals against average and .887 save percentage in his career against the Wild.
2. Minnesota captain C Mikko Koivu has two goals in the last three games and needs one to reach 200 in his career.
3. Canadiens D Shea Weber scored Saturday and owns 12 points with a plus-8 rating in 18 games this season.
PREDICTION: Canadiens 4, Wild 3