The Canadiens (8-5-0) are in Minnesota on Friday to face the Wild (6-4-3) to kickoff their second straight set of back-to-back games. The game starts at 8:00 Eastern and can be seen on RDS.
This is the first of two meetings between the Habs and the Wild, Minnesota will be in Montreal later in the month to complete the series. The last time these teams met, the Habs squandered a 4-1 lead but managed a 5-4 shootout victory against a Wild team that had yet to sign Zach Parise or Ryan Suter.
What to Watch:
The trio of Tomas Plekanec, Brian Gionta and Michael Bournival have combined for 21 points in the last 7 games and have scored 10 of the 17 Habs goals in that span. Meanwhile, PK Subban has been held pointless in his last 4, although he’s still tied for most points among defensemen with 11 on the season.
Jason Pominville, picked up from the Sabres at the trade deadline last season, leads the Wild with 7 goals on the year. Rookie Matt Dumba has played 9 NHL games this season, meaning it’s decision time for the Wild. The team needs to decide if they want to burn a year off his NHL contract or send Dumba back down to the minors. Coach Mike Yeo has already confirmed Dumba won’t be in the lineup on Friday.
What’s at Stake:
The Canadiens are one of four teams with 16 points in the Atlantic division heading into Friday’s action. The Habs, Wings, Lightning and Bruins are all chasing the Maple Leafs early in the season, the Leafs are up to 20 points in their 14 games.
George Parros will make his return to the lineup Friday night and Max Pacioretty (hamstring) is already traveling with the team, although he won’t see action in Minnesota. That still leaves Brandon Prust (upper body), Daniel Briere (concussion), Travis Moen (face), Alexei Emelin (knee) and Davis Drewiske (shoulder) in the clinic.
Keith Ballard (head) could return to the Wild lineup Friday, so could forward Charlie Coyle. That leaves Jonas Brodin (face) and Mike Rupp (knee) on the sidelines.
The Canadiens announced Thursday that the team had re-signed defenseman Alexei Emelin to a 4-year deal. While the terms were not disclosed, the deal is reportedly worth 4.1 million per year. Emelin led the Habs in hits last year despite missing 10 of 48 games in the shortened season.
The Question Mark:
We want to hear from you, with October in the books who are your Three Stars for the month and who is your Habs Little Bear (unsung hero)?
Let us know what you think, leave a comment below or send us a tweet using the #MTLHockey hashtag.
Be sure to tune into the Montreal Hockey Talk Pregame Show an hour before the puck drop and the Post Game Show 5 minutes after the final siren. Join the live conversation by using the #MTLHockey hashtag on Twitter.