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MTL@MIN: About Sunday night...

The Canadiens couldn't finish off their road trip in style on Sunday, falling in Minnesota

by Matt Cudzinowski @CanadiensMTL /

ST. PAUL - Here are a few key storylines from Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center.

A strong outing for Kinkaid

The Canadiens couldn't have asked for more from Keith Kinkaid in his second start of the season - especially during the first period.

The Wild fired 19 shots on the 30-year-old goaltender in the opening frame alone, but he only surrendered a single tally to Jason Zucker on the power play.

Without Kinkaid's effort early on, the outcome could have easily been far different.

"He deserved a better result than that. It took us some time to really find a way into that game. To only be down 1-0 [after the first period] was all because of him," said assistant captain Brendan Gallagher, after watching Kinkaid put on a goaltending clinic as the Wild stormed out of the gates. "He played a very, very strong game."

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: "Kinkaid deserved a better result."#GoHabsGo

The Farmingville, NY native, who ultimately finished the contest with 29 saves, fully expected Minnesota to play an aggressive brand of hockey given their struggles so far this season.

It was also just their second game on home turf, so Kinkaid was prepared for a heavy workload.

"I felt good in warmup. I just wanted to keep things close. We knew they were going to come out hard. After what happened in Montreal [last week] and the closed-door meeting and everything, we knew it was coming. I just wanted to weather the storm," explained Kinkaid. "We played better in the second and third after weathering the first. Unfortunately, we didn't get it."

Video: Keith Kinkaid on his performance against Minnesota

Kinkaid's highlight-reel stop on Zucker during the second period will undoubtedly be replayed over and over again in the days and months to come, but it was little consolation to the seven-year NHL veteran.

"I'm never satisfied unless we get the win," insisted Kinkaid. "That's what counts."

But head coach Claude Julien was proud of his netminder's performance.

"He was by far our best player tonight," praised Julien. "The first period, if it wasn't for him, the game might have been over. But he stood tall, made some big saves, and gave us a chance here tonight."

Video: MTL@MIN: Kinkaid robs Zucker with amazing glove save

'We knew they were a good team'

The Habs' struggles at the Xcel Energy Center in recent years are well-documented.

It marked the club's seventh straight loss in the Wild's home rink. Their last win on Minnesota soil came in March 2011.

"We knew they were a good team. I don't think we needed that reminder. We know how hard it is to play in this building. It hasn't been a place where we've had a lot of success. We knew it wasn't going to be an easy night," said Gallagher. "It just came down to them finding a way to put one more in the net than we did in the third period. We've got to go home and correct that."

Remember that the Canadiens assumed the lead on two occasions as the contest rolled on, but were unable to maintain their advantage.

Video: MTL@MIN: Danault banks in goal off of Dubnyk

In retrospect, it really was a missed opportunity to string together a third straight win.

"We made some small mental mistakes that led to goals. I don't think we lacked energy. We still worked well as a team. I think we still played 60 minutes. It was a question of bounces, and they capitalized," said Phillip Danault, who netted both of the go-ahead goals. "They played their best game of the season. Good for them. We'll come out strong the next game."

That, of course, will come on Thursday night when the Canadiens play host to the San Jose Sharks at the Bell Centre.

Video: Phillip Danault on the loss to the Wild

The good news

While the Canadiens didn't leave Minnesota with the two points they were hoping for, there were still some bright spots on offense.

First and foremost, the power play delivered at least a goal for the fourth consecutive game.

Tomas Tatar cleaned up a rebound off a Jeff Petry point shot and beat Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk for the Canadiens' first snipe.

Video: MTL@MIN: Tatar cleans up rebound for PPG

Max Domi collected an assist on the play to extend his point streak to six straight games. He has seven points (2G, 5A) during that span.

For his part, Danault scored his third and fourth goals of the season.

Gallagher collected an assist on Danault's second tally to register the 300th point of his NHL career.

The 27-year-old forward sits tied with Domi atop the Canadiens' scoring list with nine points in nine games.

Video: MTL@MIN: Danault notches second goal on deflection

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