How to watch
The Montreal Canadiens hit the ice on Saturday prepared to play the way they had all game two days earlier. They were the ones controlling the puck and getting the chances, holding a 15-7 shot advantage after the opening 20 minutes versus the Washington Capitals.
In the second period, the Habs must have looked behind them and realized it wasn’t Carey Price they were playing for, because following an early goal from Jake Evans their grasp of the momentum gradually slipped.
Offensively, it was a decent game for the inexperienced centres on the team as Evans’s production was matched by Nick Suzuki and doubled by Ryan Poehling having another multi-goal game. Defensively, it was an all too familiar scene of being unable to contain the opposing players and bleeding shots against. Samuel Montembeault wasn’t at his best to bail them out, but he would have enjoyed even half of the structure the team had shown its number-one netminder.
Tonight we will probably see Price back in action following a couple of days off since his first start of the season, and he’ll be facing a Minnesota Wild offence that is even more prolific than the one Washington has to offer.
Tale of the Tape
|45.0% (29th)||Scoring-chances-for %||53.9% (6th)|
|2.55 (31st)||Goals per game||3.68 (5th)|
|3.86 (32nd)||Goals against per game||3.08 (19th)|
|13.4% (31st)||PP%||19.9% (20th)|
|74.6% (28th)||PK%||75.4% (25th)|
The leader is the player the Wild scrambled to bring over to the NHL several years ago, Kirill Kaprizov, who is now up to 93 points on the season. That’s currently good for eighth in the league, and he’s tied for fifth with 43 goals. It’s just his second year in Minnesota, and it’s been an even better start than the organization could have hoped for.
He has been instrumental in securing the team a playoff spot, and the Wild are all but assured a top-three seed in the Central Division. They are now in a battle with the charging St. Louis Blues to determine which team claims home-ice advantage in what is very likely to be a first-round meeting between the two.
Minnesota is seeing its rival riding a nine-game winning streak, but is still in control of its own destiny with a game in hand and just one point back; a point they surrendered in an entertaining back-and-forth battle between the teams on Saturday when the Blues grabbed it in overtime.
Minnesota now has an additional opponent to deal with. Yesterday, it was reported that their flight to Montreal was pushed back for COVID reasons, and Marcus Foligno has been placed in the protocol and will be unable to play the next few games at least. That’s a 22-goal-scorer out of commission for the next week, and the team will hope no other players are impacted.
Foligno was one of eight different goal-scorers in the first game of the season series when Montreal experienced the full force of the Wild’s offensive power. Minnesota had another five games with goal totals reaching seven as well. If the Habs aren’t sharper with their defensive details, it could be a second consecutive game filled with opposition celebrations, unless Price is feeling like his vintage self.