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Wild Warmup: Minnesota vs. Montreal

Two-game homestand begins Sunday with a rematch against Canadiens

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe /
The essentials

Who: Montreal Canadiens (4-2-2) at Minnesota Wild (1-6-0)

Puck drop: 4:08 p.m. CT

Watch: FOX Sports North, FOX Sports App

Listen: KOOL108 FM 107.9, Wild Radio NetworkWild NHL App

Follow: @mnwild; @mnwildscribe; GameCenter

The Wild Warmup is presented by Bryant Heating and Cooling

ST. PAUL -- Back in St. Paul and in need of a victory, the Wild will try to get the better end of consecutive games against the Montreal Canadiens when the two clubs play Sunday afternoon at Xcel Energy Center.

Montreal won 4-0 in a matchup between the teams on Thursday night at Bell Centre, the final contest of a three-game road trip for the Wild, one where it went 1-2. 

Once again, it was a three-goal outburst for MInnesota's opponent that did it in. Through seven games this season, it's been a consistent issue and one that the Wild has yet to solve, with the exception of a 2-0 win in Ottawa last Monday. 

Video: Rink Report: Wild vs Canadiens

In an effort to rid the team of some of the bad habits that have caused it to allow goals in bunches, coach Bruce Boudreau put his team through a rigorous practice on Saturday at TRIA Rink at Treasure Island Center.

"It can't get easier. We're not in a position when things aren't going right to make things easily," Boudreau said. "When things don't go well, you go hard."

Minnesota's 1-6-0 start to the season matches the worst in franchise history, but the team has played just one game at home and it has played all but two of its games against playoff teams from last season.

That's of little consequence to players, and frankly, it's nothing more than an excuse at this point, but it does provide a valid point that Minnesota has played an extremely difficult schedule to this point.

But if players are looking for a break in the schedule, good luck.

Following a game against Montreal, the Wild hosts the red-hot Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday, who have gotten off to a 7-1-0 start through eight games, before a second trip to Nashville in the past month to face the defending Central Division champion Predators. 

If the Wild is going to get on track, it's going to have to do so against quality competition. 

Video: Boudreau/Zucker practice update

"I think it's just being a little more detailed with everything. A little more detailed in our passing. A little more detailed in our coverages and our systems and our scoring chances," said Wild forward Jason Zucker. "We just have to bear down a little bit more and make sure that every little thing we do we're doing with 100 percent urgency and making sure that we're on top of everything."

Minnesota is dealing with some injury problems up front. Forward Mats Zuccarello was placed on injured reserve on Saturday because of a lower-body injury. He's missed the past three games. 

Centermen Victor Rask and Joel Eriksson Ek both were hurt on the road trip when they blocked shots. Eriksson Ek left the Bell Centre in a walking boot and did not return after blocking three Shea Weber one-timers in one second-period shift. 

Boudreau said he's hopeful the injury won't keep him out more than a week or two. 

To help fill the void, Minnesota recalled center Gabriel Dumont from Iowa on Saturday. Dumont has three goals and five points in five games with the AHL Wild. 

Devan Dubnyk is expected to start in goal for Minnesota. 

Montreal has won three of its past four games after a 5-2 win against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday afternoon at Enterprise Center.

Weber had a goal and an assist for the Canadiens, who had 11 different players find the scoresheet. 

Carey Price, coming off his 17-save shutout of the Wild, made 32 saves in the victory. 

If Montreal doesn't come back with Price for back-to-back starts, Keith Kinkaid would draw the assignment in the Canadiens crease. It would mark just his second start of the regular season for him after he allowed five goals in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Oct. 9.

Brandon Gallagher, Jonathan Drouin and Max Domi lead the Canadiens with eight points apiece, with Gallagher and Joel Armia each with four goals. 

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