Preview: This is a battle between two of the best offensive and defensive teams in the NHL. The Wild has won eight games in a row, one short of the franchise record. Montreal, the Atlantic Division leader, has the NHL’s best home record (15-2-2). The Wild has outscored opponents 26-10 during its eight-game win streak.
Players to watch: RW Charlie Coyle leads the Wild with 11 goals and is riding a four-game point streak. C Eric Staal has nine points in the past eight games. He has 19 goals and 38 points in 42 career games against Montreal. Canadiens LW Max Pacioretty is tied for 26th in the NHL with 26 points. RW Alex Radulov ranks third on the team with 23 points.
Numbers: The Wild ranks first at 1.87 goals allowed per game; the Canadiens rank fourth with 2.16 goals against per game. The Canadiens rank fifth with 3.13 goals per game. The Wild ranks seventh with 2.9. … The Wild has scored first in 11 of its past 13 games (13-4-3 when scoring first this season).
Injuries: Wild C Erik Haula (lower body) is out. Canadiens C Alex Galchenyuk (knee), C David Desharnais (knee), D Greg Pateryn (ankle), D Andrei Markov (lower body) and C Andrew Shaw (concussion) are out.