CANADIENS (26-10-6) at WILD (25-9-5)
8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SNE, RDS, NHL.TV
Canadiens team scope
Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, 20-6-4 with a 2.12 goals-against average and .928 save percentage this season, is expected to start. The Canadiens are 4-1-0 in their past five games, including a 7-4 win at the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday. Montreal continues to be without six players because of injuries; none joined the Canadiens on their two-game road trip. "Minnesota is a tough place to play, with a strong team that doesn't give up many chances," captain Max Pacioretty said Wednesday. "It's up to us to find our legs right from the start and make sure we give our best." The Canadiens, who did not hold a morning skate , lead the Atlantic Division and are two points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the Eastern Conference lead.
Wild team scope
The Minnesota Wild, 14-1-1 in their past 16 games, have the second-best record in the Central Division and the Western Conference, four points behind the Chicago Blackhawks. They look to continue their success at Xcel Energy Center, where they are 8-1-0 in their past nine games and 13-4-0 this season. This will be Minnesota's first game at home since a 4-2 loss to the Blue Jackets on Dec. 31 that ended their franchise-record 12-game winning streak. "It's great to be here for a solid game and then we're back on the road," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Next month we get our chance to be at home. Every team goes through it … it all evens out at the end." The Wild will play eight of their 12 games in February at home. Goaltender Devan Dubnyk will start. He is 12-1-0 with 26 goals allowed in his past 13 starts. Forward Eric Staal has five points (two goals, three assists) in a three-game point streak, and 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in his past 13 games, including points in 12 of those 13. "I didn't think at 31 [years old] he could have lost it," Boudreau said of Staal. "There had to be some other reasons and particulars that he wasn't playing very well in Carolina, and lucky enough we think that he's been rejuvenated here and he's having, so far, a really good season."
Canadiens projected lineup
Max Pacioretty -- Phillip Danault -- Alexander Radulov
Artturi Lehkonen -- Tomas Plekanec -- Paul Byron
Sven Andrighetto -- Torrey Mitchell -- Brian Flynn
Daniel Carr -- Michael McCarron -- Nikita Scherbak
Alexei Emelin -- Shea Weber
Nathan Beaulieu -- Jeff Petry
Mark Barberio -- Zach Redmond
Scratched: Ryan Johnston, Chris Terry, Bobby Farnham
Injured: Brendan Gallagher (hand), David Desharnais (knee), Alex Galchenyuk (knee), Andrew Shaw (concussion), Andrei Markov (groin), Greg Pateryn (ankle)
Wild projected lineup
Zach Parise -- Eric Staal -- Charlie Coyle
Jason Zucker -- Mikko Koivu -- Mikael Granlund
Nino Niederreiter -- Erik Haula -- Jason Pominville
Chris Stewart -- Tyler Graovac -- Jordan Schroeder
Ryan Suter -- Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin -- Matt Dumba
Marco Scandella -- Christian Folin
Scratched: Nate Prosser , Kurtis Gabriel
Injured: Victor Bartley (arm)
Galchenyuk and Markov each hope to return when the Canadiens host the New York Rangers on Saturday.
Pacioretty has eight points (five goals, three assists) in his past eight games, and 17 points (12 goals, five assists) in his past 16. Radulov has nine points (four goals, five assists) in his past eight games. Weber has eight points (one goal, seven assists) in his past six games. Beaulieu has eight points (one goal, seven assists) in his past eight games. Danault has five points (two goals, three assists) in his past four games. Lehkonen has five points (three goals, two assists) in a three-game point streak. … Koivu has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in his past seven games. Parise has five points (two goals, three assists) in a three-game point streak, and 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in his past 11 games.