#8 Minnesota Wildvs.#7 Montreal Canadiens
Thursday, January 1 2017, at 8:05pm EST
Written by David Hess
Montreal Canadiens (25-10-5-1 SU, 27-14 PL, 17-16-8 O/U) vs Minnesota Wild (25-9-3-2 SU, 24-15 PL, 15-17-7 O/U)
When: 8:00 PM ET, Thursday, January 12, 2016
Where: Xcel Energy Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Lines: Minnesota -141/Montreal +131
Tonight in NHL action, the Montreal Canadiens will finish a long stretch of games that saw them play nine of 10 on the road. They are playing on no rest in this one as they have a game in Winnipeg on Wednesday night and will be taking on a Minnesota team that has won 14 of their last 16 games. This game will take place at Xcel Energy Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The Montreal Canadiens have had a solid season overall, but they have been inconsistent at times and while they do lead their division lets also note that it is a weak division, as the Sens are the only other team in the division with a winning record overall. Will Montreal holdup in the playoffs? That remains to be seen, but it isn’t very likely that they will, especially when they meet any of the stronger teams from the Metro Division. I feel they will be in trouble in the postseason and we saw glimpse of their in their recent 4-1 loss at home to the Capitals. Price struggled and the offense just couldn’t get much past Holtby. Now they take on a goalie, who has been very solid at home. Their offense mich not get back on track in this one. Scoring their lone goal in the loss to the Capitals was Tomas Plekanec, which was his 4th goal of the year.
Carey Price will be given a day of rest on Wednesday, so he will get the nod in this one and has gone 20-10 with a 2.12 GAA on the year, including 6-4 with a 2.35 GAA on the road, while vs the Wild in his career he has gone 4-4 with a 2.51 GAA. The Canadiens enter this game ranked 6th in the league in scoring at 3.02 gpg, while also ranking 8th in shots taken (30.9 spg) and 10th in power play conversions, converting on 21.1% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice they have been strong as they are 5th in goals allowed, giving up 2.34 gpg, while also ranking 15th in shots allowed (30.3) and 23rd in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 20.5% of their chances.
The Minnesota wild have gone just 2-2 in their last four games, but prior to that they dit have a nice 12 game win streak going. They are in 2nd place in the Central and just four points out of first, while holding an eight point lead over St Louis, who is in third place. This is a solid team that has really been led by strong defense and goaltending, but they offense hasn’t been too shabby either. I feel like it is just a matter of time before the Wild overtake the Blackhawks in the Central. Scoring in the win over the Ducks was Matt Dumba, which was his 6th of the year and Jared Spurgeon, whose 5th of the year came at the 6:21 mark of the 2nd period to give the Wild a 2-1 lead and they would hold onto that lead for the final score. The Wild have gone 12-10 on the road this year, while here at home they have gone 13-4
Taking the win against the Ducks was Devan Dubnyk, who has now gone 21-10 with a 1.80 GAA on the year, including 11-4 with a 1.74 GAA here at home, while vs the Canadiens in his career he has gone 4-2 with a 2.64 GAA. The Wild come into this game ranked 4th in the league in scoring at 3.13 gpg, while also ranking 17th in shots taken (29.5 spg) and 14th in power play conversions, converting on 19.1% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice they have been strong so far, ranking 2nd in goals allowed, giving up 2.13 gpg, while also ranking 19th in shots allowed (30.5) and 4th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 14.2% of their chances.
The Canadiens lead their division, while the Wild have been one of the hottest teams in the league of late. This should be a great game. The Canadiens are not as strong on the road as they are at home and they are at a disadvantage in this game as they are playing this contest on no rest vs a rested team. They wild have been strong at home this year as they have gone 13-4 here at the Xcel Center and they should keep it going vs a tired Montreal team that has now played nine of its last 10 on the road. Take the Wild in this one.
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