How to watch
Start time: 5:00 PM EDT / 2:00 PM PDT
In Canada: TSN2 (English), RDS (French)
In the Wild region: Fox Sports North/Wisconsin
Streaming: NHL.tv / NHL Live
The Montreal Canadiens started off a short two-game road trip on Saturday, taking on the St. Louis Blues for the second and final time this season. The Habs got a full-team effort in a rare afternoon game, taking over offensively in the second period to create a commanding lead, then riding it out to a 5-2 victory.
It was the first time this season Montreal had come away with two points in consecutive games, and it also gave them a sweep in their two-game set with the Blues this season after a previous three-goal victory at the Bell Centre on October 12.
Back in action today, the Canadiens have a chance at another season sweep of a Central Division team when they take on the Minnesota Wild.
Tale of the Tape
|51.2% (12th)||Corsi-for pct.||49.4% (18th)|
|3.75 (4th)||Goals per game||2.00 (31st)|
|3.13 (17th)||Goals against per game||4.14 (31st)|
|25.8% (8th)||PP%||12.0% (25th)|
|73.1% (25th)||PK%||77.8% (20th)|
The Wild aren’t having much fun this year. Not only are they not winning (they have just one victory in seven games), they’re not scoring. Occupying the final spot in the standings, they’re also at the bottom of the list in goals per game, with just two per contest.
They didn’t get even one in their last game, as Carey Price handled the 17 shots the Wild sent in his direction on Thursday. While the Bell Centre crowd was riding the highs of first NHL goals from Victor Mete and Nick Suzuki in the first period, the visitors were at the opposite end of the spectrum, showing little pushback for the rest of the night as Montreal took the game 4-0.
Minnesota hasn’t played since that night, but they have been occupied with a bit of drama in the last few days. After what was their sixth loss of the season — and the most lopsided one, despite all of them being by multiple goals — it was time to apportion blame for the disastrous start.
Jason Zucker took the chance to include his coach in the list of people responsible, not letting Bruce Boudreau off the hook for his part in the proceedings:
Zucker: “I think more than (a meeting’s) going to have to jumpstart us to be honest with you. It’s going to be each individual guy from Bruce on down. Bruce has got to be better. We’ve got to be better. Everybody’s got to be better. That’s it.”
— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) October 18, 2019
Yesterday, he apologized for his comment, as criticism of the coach isn’t a thing you can get away with in the NHL. But it’s safe to say there’s been a bit of tension in the organization, and the only thing that’s going to relief it is more success on the ice.
Montreal is probably not the team they want to face right after their players-only meeting. No amount of desire is going to make Minnesota’s players any faster, and the disparity in speed was obvious when the clubs met a few days ago. With Montreal now feeling as good as they have all year, that speed is coupled with plenty of confidence throughout the lineup. The Wild will need either a major drop in the Canadiens’ level or a massive leap in theirs if they want to have a chance of competing tonight.