The Minnesota Wild are on stop two of their road trip and about to face the Montreal Canadiens. Listen, the Canadiens have been relatively solid in their own dome so far this season, only having lost one at home, that being against the Dallas Stars on Saturday. They’ll be looking to get right in front of their fans and their young core has been having a lot of fun.
Wild at Canadiens
When: 6:00 p.m. CT
Where: Bell Centre
TV: BSN, BSWI, TSN2, RDS
Radio: KFAN 100.3 FM
That being said, they were the last team in the league for a reason last year. They’ve made some improvements, but on paper the Wild should absolutely have the tools to come out of this game with another tally in the win column. But my guys, it’s getting less fun every time we write one of these previews with a less and less confident “should win.”
Minnesota is 1-3-1 and have at least forced the last two games into OT. But the point in Boston was gained through sheer force of will and not a game they likely left feeling particularly accomplished. Some things have to change if they really want to get this season turned around, and Montreal would be a great place to get it done.
Projected Wild lineup:
Kirill Kaprizov — Frederick Gaudreau — Mats Zuccarello
Marcus Foligno — Marco Rossi — Matt Boldy
Brandon Duhaime — Joel Eriksson Ek — Ryan Hartman
Tyson Jost — Sam Steel — Connor Dewar/Mason Shaw
Jake Middleton — Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin — Calen Addison
Jon Merrill — Matt Dumba
Marc Andre Fleury will be in net.
That is some pretty serious line scrambling. The Jost-Eriksson Ek-Foligno line could absolutely not remain intact. Gosh, if you had told me this time last year that Foligno and Joel would be part of a line combination that would be an absolute liability I wouldn’t have believed you. I can’t imagine they’ll be separated for that long, but I don’t think it’s unwise to have them get their heads on right before reuniting them. Foligno on with Rossi and Boldy should be a joy to watch at least. I like Hartman and Duhaime, but I’m a little bummed to see Eriksson Ek pigeon-holed onto another grinder line, I know he didn’t necessarily sing on the Zuccarello-Kaprizov line when they tried it last year but if we’re just throwing things at the wall at this point, I wouldn’t hate seeing that combo again and Gaudreau’s repeated flubs on finishing have me wary.
The most significant shakeup however comes in the shape of a big Addison promotion. I’m a Dumba Defender to my core, but I think this was the right call. Addison’s absolutely earned top-four minutes, and Dumba’s made some unforced errors that he just can’t be making. Merrill was solid against Boston and hopefully Dumba will make the most of his time playing with him.
Projected Bruins lineup:
Cole Caufield — Nick Suzuki — Sean Monahan
Evgenii Dadonov — Christian Dvorak — Brendan Gallagher
Jonathan Drouin — Kirby Dach — Josh Anderson
Rem Pitlick — Jake Evans — Mike Hoffman/Michael Pezzetta
Kaiden Guhle — David Savard
Johnathan Kovecevic — Jordan Harris
Arber Xhekaj — Chris Wideman
The young forward line led by captain Nick Suzuki have been solid this season, but their defense is remarkably hodgepodge. Regardless, the Wild absolutely shouldn’t be resting on their laurels. Especially if what has looked about the Habs isn’t a flash in the pan.
Expect a Rem Pitlick goal, though.
Puck drop is at 6:00 p.m CT. I personally can’t wait to get to bed before 10:00 p.m.
Marco Rossi Watch is back. Does he get a point?
There were lots of good signs that Rossi is gaining some confidence in Boston on Saturday. The Gaudreau-Rossi-Boldy line was one of the teams strongest that game even though they went pointless. Hopefully tonight will be the night.
Can the Minnesota Wild hold a league for any significant length of time?
The amount of times this season that Minnesota has scored and immediately let the other team tie it up is… troubling. The Wild have held a lead for a grand total of 4:38 through five games. Not good. My personal goal for the team is to see them double that time in one game.
See you soon!