Two of the top teams in the NHL meet on Thursday night as the Montreal Canadiens visit the Minnesota Wild. The Canadiens lead the Atlantic Division while the Wild are battling for the lead in the Central Division. This should be a matchup between two of the best goalies in the league as Montreal has Carey Price while Minnesota has Devan Dubynk. The Wild will be favored at home in this contest as they have a huge advantage in terms of scheduling.
Don't miss the ice action from the Xcel Energy Center at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday, January 12, 2017. Catch every moment of the game live on NBCSN.
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It is amazing how well Montreal has done this season considering their schedule. They have had some rotten situations in terms of travel and rest and yet they continue to win. It will be a huge test for the Canadiens on Thursday as this is another terrible spot for them. They are playing their third game in four nights and with no rest as they were in Winnipeg on Wednesday. It is also the fourth game in six nights for Montreal. When will the wear and tear and all of the injuries start to catch up with this team? Montreal was 10-10 in their first 20 road games this season with 8 going over the total, 8 going under with 4 pushes.
Minnesota is in a great spot as they will have had three days off to get ready for this contest as they are coming off a 2-1 win at Anaheim on Sunday. The Wild are 13-4 at home this season with 8 games going under, 6 going over with 3 pushes.
Montreal is 10th in the league on the power play at 21.1% and they are 5th in the league in goals per game at 3.1 per contest. They have not been that good on the penalty kill at just 80.3% which is 22nd in the league but overall they are giving up just 2.3 goals per game.
Minnesota is just above average on the power play at 19.1% which is 14th in the league. The Wild are scoring 3.1 goals per game which is 4th in the league. The Wild are very good on the penalty kill at 85.8% and they are 2nd in the league in fewest goals allowed at 2.1 per game.
The Canadiens have two very good goaltenders with Carey Price the clear number one as he is 20-9 with a 2.06 goals against average while Al Montoya is 5-6 with a 2.76 goals against average.
The Wild have Devan Dubynk who has been ever better than Price this season as Dubynk is 21-10 with a 1.80 goals against average. The backup is Darcy Kuemper who is 4-4 with a 3.21 goals against average.
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It used to be that Montreal dominated this series but that is not the case any longer as the Wild have taken the last four in this series with two games going under, one over with one push. The teams met just a couple weeks ago in Montreal and the Wild won 4-2. Minnesota has also won the last three meetings at home with the last two going under.
There are not many situations in the NHL that are better than this one for the Wild. They are playing a weary team that is playing with no rest and Minnesota has had three days off to get ready. Montreal is a very good team but they injuries are starting to pile up for this team and the Canadiens haven’t been anything special on the road.
The Wild have been excellent at home this season and they should be able to get this win against Montreal on Thursday night.
NHL Odds: Wild 4, Canadiens 1
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