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Game Preview: Canadiens @ Wild

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

CANADIENS (8-5-0) @ WILD (6-4-3)

The Canadiens play the first of two road games in as many days on Friday when they go up against the Wild in Minnesota.

The Habs will be looking for their third straight win after besting the Stars 2-1 on Tuesday night in Montreal. Michael Bournival and Rene Bourque lit the lamp for the Canadiens, while Carey Price turned aside 26 of 27 shots to register his sixth win of the year.

Michel Therrien’s squad will go up against a team that hasn’t played since Monday in Chicago. The Wild struggled against the defending Stanley Cup champs, dropping a 5-1 decision to the Blackhawks. Jason Pominville was the lone goal-scorer for Minnesota.

Having already seen Douglas Murray return to active duty, Therrien will benefit from additional support come Friday night as George Parros will return to the lineup for the first time since suffering a concussion in the season-opener on Oct. 1. Max Pacioretty, who accompanied his teammates on the road trip, should also return to action at some point over the weekend. Therrien also confirmed that Carey Price will get the start in goal against the Wild.

The Wild will have to keep an eye on the line of Tomas Plekanec, Brian Gionta and Bournival, who are on a tear as of late since being reunited against the Oilers on Oct. 22. In five games, the three forwards have produced a combined seven goals and 16 points. Plekanec, meanwhile, has been leading the way with three goals and seven points during that span.

It should come as no surprise that Zach Parise sits atop the scoring list for Minnesota thus far this season with nine points in 13 games. Parise will undoubtedly be on the Canadiens’ radar on Tuesday night as the left winger has enjoyed great success against the Canadiens over the course of his career, tallying 14 goals and 23 points in 26 games.

One player that the Habs will have to be on the lookout for come Friday night  is defenseman Jonas Brodin. A key element on the Wild blue line and likely the squad’s second-best defenseman behind Ryan Suter, Brodin is making a return to game action after taking a puck off his cheek a week ago. His absence has clearly been felt by Minnesota, as Brodin was the second-most used player on the team prior to his injury, logging an average of 23 :14 of ice time per game.

The Canadiens hold a stellar record at the the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul since the Wild joined the NHL ranks in 2000. The bleu-blanc-rouge are 3-1-0-1 in five visits to the Twin Cities, claiming their most recent tilt on Mar. 20, 2011 by a score of 8-1. P.K. Subban scored the lone hat trick of his NHL career in that game.

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