The Sports Daily > State of Hockey News
Game #64: Minnesota Wild vs Montreal Canadiens, Thursday March 1st, 2012 at 6:00pm (CST), Bell Centre [GAME PREVIEW]

Record Pts Div. Rank G/G GA/G PP% PK%
Minnesota Wild (28-26-9) 65 4th Northwest 2.11 (29) 2.54 (10) 15.8% (22)

83.1% (10)

Montreal Canadiens
(24-30-10) 58 5th Northeast 2.52 (21) 2.64 (12) 13.6% (29) 89.3% (1)


Minnesota Wild
Top 5 Scorers: G A Pts
1. #15 Dany Heatley 19 26 45
2. #9 Mikko Koivu 10 27 37
3. #7 Matt Cullen 14 18 32
4. #21 Kyle Brodziak 16 15 31
5. #10 Devin Setoguchi 15 11 26
Top 3 Penalty Minutes: PIM
1. #22 Cal Clutterbuck 91
2. #4 Clayton Stoner 47
3. #21 Kyle Brodziak 45
Goaltenders: GAA SV%
1. #32 Niklas Backstrom (17-17-6) 2.41 .921
2. #37 Josh Harding (9-9-3) 2.59 .919
3. #31 Matt Hackett (2-0-0) 0.68 .979
Montreal Canadiens
Top 5 Scorers: G A Pts
1. #51 David Desharnais 16 34 47
2. #61 Max Pacioretty 25 21 46
3. #72 Erik Cole 22 23 45
4. #14 Tomas Plekanec 12 30 42
5. #22 Tomas Kaberle 2 25 27
Top 3 Penalty Minutes: PIM
1. #25 Brad Staubitz 90
2. #76 P.K. Subban 78
3. #27 Rene Bourque 56
Goaltenders: GAA SV%
1. #31 Carey Price (22-24-9) 2.40 .915
2. #30 Peter Budaj (2-6-1)  2.87 .902
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I really hate the trip to Montreal by the Minnesota Wild.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great city and a great arena.  Regardless of the Canadiens score when they play in Bell Centre, you know the fans are in the building.  They do not let anyone forget they are there.  As a Minnesota Wild fan, I’m used to a quieter fan base during the game.  The one time I have been in Bell Center for a game was a few years ago for a March match-up between the Canadiens and the Senators with playoff positioning on the line.  Montreal lost, but you knew they were there.  It was an electrifying environment.

While it’s a fun place in general to go, it is not a fun place for the Minnesota Wild.  Not only has it not been fun, but it’s been downright embarassing.  For whatever reason, this team either cannot or simply refuses to put forth effort in Montreal.  Not even when Jacques Lemaire was at the helm could Minnesota be inspired to play well.  If you can’t play well for a coach with a strong connection to the Canadiens who wanted to win for the sake of pride, you just have to wonder if the team wants to play for the sake of their pride.  However, we are playing a team that has a reason for pride, especially tonight.  Don’t be surprised if there is some sort of tribute for Montreal great, Jean Beliveau.  He’s been in the hospital since Monday night when he suffered a stroke.  Even though he hasn’t donned the “bleu, blanc et rouge” in many years, to a degree he is still the heart and soul of Les Habitants.

One would hope that the Wild could manage to put forth a real effort tonight.  Tonight would be the night to do so.  The Canadiens are in a five-game skid right now.  Not only have they lost five in a row, but they have only scored five total goals in those five games.  Sound familiar?  However, I’m not holding out any sort of hope.  Why?  Look at Tuesday night.  The Wild lost 4-0 at home to the Los Angeles Kings, a team that scores even fewer goals than the Wild.  If they can’t score against a team with less offense than the Wild, do you really think they’re going to score against the Canadiens, scoring issues and all? 

Yes, I am a bit “negative Nancy” right now.  But has this team really done anything lately to give me, or any fan, a boost of confidence?  Really, I just want the season to be over.  I was planning on attending the St. Patrick’s Day game, but considering what we’ve seen on the ice lately, I can think of far better ways to spend my limited amounts of money.  I very much hope that I’m wrong about tonight’s game, but even if I am, it won’t change much.  We’re still outside of the playoff picture, and with the way things have been lately, we don’t deserve to be in that picture. 

Injury Report:

Minnesota:  Mikko Koivu (undisclosed, questionable), Mike Lundin (lower body), Carson McMillan (lower body), Clayton Stoner (hip), Guillaume Latendresse (concussion), Pierre-Marc Bouchard (concussion, groin),  Clayton Stoner (leg)    

Andrei Markov (knee), Brian Gionta (right biceps surgery), Mike Blunden (knee surgery), Travis Moen (upper body), Mathieu Darche (dizziness/ upper body)   

Jack Jablonski  Jenna Privette

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