The Minnesota Wild face night two of a back-to-back series north of the border. The goal is to break a three-game losing skid.
Just one week ago, the Wild (5-7-2) beat the Montreal Canadiens (7-8-1) at home by a 6-3 score. The Wild have a six-game winning streak against the Canadiens dating back to December 2014, though they also had long winning streaks against Toronto and in Boston and saw those evaporate with losses this week.
Still, the Wild have outscored Montreal 25-9 over the last six games. But lately, the Canadiens have rattled off five victories in their past six games, with the only loss coming in St. Paul.
The Wild put up 37 shots in Toronto and were rewarded with just two goals from Jason Zucker. Maybe they’ll have some better luck on the scoreboard against the Canadiens.
With his two assists Wednesday, Eric Staal is one away from 500 career assists. He leads the Wild with 11 points (5 G, 6 A) this season. He also has 42 points in 45 games against the Canadiens. Zucker and defenseman Jared Spurgeon each have 10 points for the Wild this season.
Defenseman Matt Dumba has six assists but is still looking for his first goal of the year. Mike Reilly is in the same boat; he has five assists. Kyle Quincey and Gustav Olofsson, who have traded places in the lineup, also are in search of their first goals.
The Wild’s power play could still use a little boost. It was 1-for-26 until Zucker’s second goal against Toronto. They have just eight goals on 45 power-play chances. Montreal hasn’t any better, going 10-for-63 on their power play this season. With just a 74.1 percent penalty kill for Montreal -- ranked 29th in the NHL -- maybe this is the game the Wild could put a couple in the net with the man advantage.
One of the Wild’s job will be to try and contain left winger Max Pacioretty. He’s tallied at least one point in each of the six games during Montreal’s recent hot streak with four goals and four assists. Noteworthy goaltender Carey Price (3-7-1) has been out with an injury the past two games, so Lakeville native Charlie Lindgren (2-0-0) has been in the net for the Canadiens.
The Wild are stuck on just 12 points this season, sitting at the bottom of the Central Division standings. Head coach Bruce Boudreau was much more complimentary of his team’s play after the game in Toronto, and seems confident they’ll find a way to win if they keep playing the right way.
Zach Parise (microdiscectomy surgery), 14 games
Charlie Coyle, IR, (right fibula fracture), 11 games
Total Man Games Lost: 44
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