Nothing says Spring like being surrounded my seven foot snow banks in Minneapolis-St. Paul Minnesota. But that's how the Montreal Canadiens will spend the first day of the Vernal Equinox as they play their lone regular season game against the Minnesota Wild.
This will be the tenth meeting between the two clubs since the latest NHL venture into Minnesota debuted in the 2000-01 season. The Canadiens hold a 4-3-1 record over the Wild. Their first matchup on October 24, 2000 was a 2-2 tie.
Having played three games in four nights, and battling a slew of injuries, the Canadiens will rest up Saturday in preparation for Sunday's game (6pm EST on CBC and RDS).
Alex Auld, who came on in relief of Carey Price in Friday's 6-3 loss to the New York Rangers, is likely to get the start on Sunday. He has a career 6-2-1 record, with a 1.69 GAA and .932 SvPct against the Wild.
This would be no detriment on Price, as the team's travel schedule would give the team's number one goalie a good rest leading into next week's schedule, where they play four games in seven days. Coach Jacques Martin backed up his goalie, after he let in five goals on seven shots Friday, noting turnovers and team breakdowns led to the downfall.
The Wild are battling to grab the 8th and final playoff position in the Western Conference, and are riding a five-game losing streak following 5-4 overtime loss Saturday to the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Minnesota squad is 2-6-2 in their last ten games.
Wild captain Mikko Koivu is a key element to the Wild's success and any shot at a playoff spot. He missed eleven games with a broken finger, and his team went 4-5-2 over that period. Koivu has 53 points in 61 games, and has had decent success playing on Sundays (7 assists in six career games.)
Ex-Habs Guillaume Latendresse is out with a lower body injury and not expected to play Sunday against his former team. Defencemen Marek Zidlicky and Cam Barker have both been out with injuries as well.
Jose Theodore is expected to get the start in goal Sunday, against his former team.
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