7 p.m. Thursday at Xcel Energy Center; TV: NBCSN
Preview: A Wild victory would be Minnesota’s 13th win in 18 games (12-4-1) against the Eastern Conference, equaling the amount it had in 32 games vs. the East last season. The Wild won 4-2 in Montreal on Dec. 22 behind Eric Staal’s game-winning shorthanded goal. The Canadiens, who beat the Jets 7-4 in Winnipeg on Wednesday night, have lost four in a row against the Wild.
Players to watch: This should be Round 2 of Devan Dubnyk (the best goalie statistically in the NHL) vs. Carey Price (widely considered the best goalie in the NHL). Dubnyk is tied for second in the NHL with 21 wins, Price is tied for fifth with 20. Dubnyk leads the NHL with 1.80 goals-against average and .939 save percentage. Price ranks sixth with a 2.12 goals-against average and fifth with a .928 save percentage. Wild C Mikko Koivu has 10 goals and 22 points in the past 22 games. Staal has 20 goals and 39 points in 43 games vs. Montreal. Canadiens D Shea Weber is second among NHL defensemen with 10 goals and has 25 points in 41 games vs. the Wild. Canadiens LW Max Pacioretty is tied for seventh in the NHL with 19 goals.
Injuries: Canadiens C Alex Galchenyuk (knee), C David Desharnais (knee), C Andrew Shaw (concussion), D Andrei Markov (lower body), RW Brendan Gallagher (hand) and D Greg Pateryn (ankle) are out.