MTL@MIN: What you need to know
ST. PAUL – The Canadiens are looking for a third straight win as their four-game road trip takes them to Minnesota for a date with the Wild.
Here’s what you need to know heading into the game:
1. Montreal is coming off an exciting come-from-behind win on Saturday in St. Louis. After going down 3-1 in the first half of the game, the Canadiens exploded for six goals to beat the Blues 7-4 at the Enterprise Center. Two of those goals came on the power play, and one of those power play markers was courtesy of Juraj Slafkovsky, who returned to the lineup after a three-game absence. Cole Caufield scored twice in the game – one of those being the other PPG – while Christian Dvorak scored three times in the third period for his first career hat trick. Nick Suzuki and Caufield also enjoyed three-point nights, while Jake Allen made 26 saves to pick up his first win against his former team since joining the Canadiens.
2. Players aged 23 or younger played a huge role in the comeback win on Saturday, with Caufield and Suzuki, Kirby Dach, and Jordan Harris all enjoying multi-point nights. According to NHL Public Relations, the Canadiens have collected 36 points by players in that age range this season, most in the League. NHL PR also note that Dvorak, who’s a bit older at 26, became just the seventh Montreal player in 30 years to record a three-goal period.
3. Slafkovsky was one of three players to re-enter the lineup on Saturday; the other two being Joel Armia and Michael Pezzetta, both of whom made their season debuts against the Blues. Armia skated on the right side of a line with Mike Hoffman and Sean Monahan, logging 17:07 of ice time – including just under one minute of penalty kill action – and recorded one hit and one takeaway. Pezzetta, meanwhile, played with Jake Evans and Slafkovsky and dished out a pair of hits in 11:04 of ice time. The Habs held an intense practice in St. Louis on Monday before departing for Minnesota, but did not run any line drills. We’ll have to wait until morning skate to see if head coach Martin St-Louis makes any changes to the lineup.
4. The Canadiens’ opponents, the Wild, were in action on Sunday night and beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 in a shootout. Matt Boldy scored twice, while Mason Shaw also tallied. Kirill Kaprizov and Frederick Gaudreau lit the lamp in the shootout to help secure the win for the visitors at the United Center. Marc-Andre Fleury made 23 stops for Minnesota. Mats Zuccarello leads the Wild with 12 points (5G, 7A), with Kaprizov right behind him with 11. Kaprizov is also tops on Minnesota with six goals. The Habs will be looking for vengeance in their second and final showdown of the season after the Wild won the first one 3-1 a week ago at the Bell Centre.
5. Game time is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET at the Xcel Energy Center. You can catch all the action on TSN2 and RDS on television, or on TSN 690 or 98,5 fm on the radio.