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  • GAME DAY: Montreal Canadiens vs. Minnesota Wild

    Heather Rule

    Seeing a Montreal team that’s struggled early on this season come into town could be a cure for what ailed the Minnesota Wild after a tough loss last time out. However, timing could mean everything: Montreal had a streak of seven games without a regulation win but has won three of its last four games, including two in a row.


    Either way, both teams come in with just four victories on the season.


    The Wild (4-4-2) have won five straight contests against the Montreal Canadiens (4-7-1), dating back to Dec. 3, 2014. They’ve outscored Montreal 19-6 in that time. The Wild are 10-6-3 (6-2-1 at Xcel Energy Center) all-time against the Canadiens. They won both games in the match-up last season, outscoring Montreal 11-3 in the pair of games. Matt Dumba recorded three assists against them last year.


    Minnesota is coming off a scary Halloween 2-1 loss to Winnipeg. Nino Niederreiter made his return and recorded his first point of the season with a pretty assist on Luke Kunin’s goal.


    Dumba would certainly like some of that success to carry over. He found himself in the doghouse after his dreadful turnover the other night led to the game-winning goal for the Jets. It was early in the third period, and Bruce Boudreau benched Dumba for the rest of the game. Dumba will be in the lineup against Montreal, with the hope that his benching during the last game sent enough of a message.


    Today’s a big day for Matt Cullen: He turns 41 years old, and he’ll suit up for game No. 1,500 in the NHL. It will be a milestone night for the Wild forward. He’s still looking for his first goal of the season and has two assists. Cullen, the second-oldest player in the NHL, has 25 points (11-14—25) in 41 games against the Canadiens.


    Tyler Ennis still sits at 99 career goals, for those who like round numbers they can pay attention to his first tally of the season, whenever that happens. He has nine goals in 30 career games against Montreal.


    The Wild could also use a power-play goal after going 0-for-5 in their last game. They’re 6-for-34 but 2-for-19 at home this season. It could match up well against Montreal’s 28th-best penalty kill (10-for-42).


    Expect Devan Dubnyk back in net for the Wild after backup Alex Stalock got the nod on Tuesday. Dubnyk is 3-3-1 this season and has shown improvement as the games have ticked off the calendar, but he’s also 5-1-1 with a 2.14 GAA and .919 save percentage in seven starts versus the Canadiens.


    As for Montreal, former Wild player center Torrey Mitchell played 103 games with the Wild from 2012-14. Shea Weber leads the team with nine points (3-6—9). Netminder Cary Price is 3-6-1 this season with a .883 save percentage.


    These two teams will share their only regular-season meetings in a week’s time. The Wild head to Montreal next Thursday.


    Injury list:

    Zach Parise (microdiscectomy surgery), 10 games

    Charlie Coyle, IR, (right fibula fracture), 7 games

    Landon Ferraro (hip flexor), 5 games

    Total man games lost: 34

    Listen to Heather Every Week on the Cold Omaha Staff Pod!


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