Game #65

Minnesota vs. Canadiens

Bell Centre – Mar. 1/2012 – 7:15pm


Game Notes –

….….Montreal has lost five games in a row for the third time this season and are trying to avoid their second six game losing streak. The last six game string was October 13 to 24th, games 3 through 8 of the season. The Canadiens lost five in a row from Dec. 15 to 22nd.

…..On November 19th Minnesota was in first place in the Western Conference with a 20-8-3 record.  Since then their record is 8-19-6 and they have fallen to 12th which is where the team finished in last year’s Western standings.  Currently the are 21st overall in the league standings.

…… February has not been kind to either team. The Wild finished with a 4-7-2 record while the Canadiens current five-game leaves them with 5-8-1 record for the month.

……Minnesota’s chances of obtaining a playoff berth are almost as hopeless as the Canadiens. They trail four teams in the Western Conference, and are five points behind three of them – Dallas, Colorado and Los Angeles.

……Minnesota has scored two goals or less in five of its last six games.   .

……..The Canadiens won their first four games of February, outscoring their opponents 14-4. Since then they are 1-6-1 scoring 14 times, including five goals during their five game losing streak and only four on the 0-3-0 road trip.

……. At one point in February the Wild lost seven straight. The Wild are starting stretch of four road games in five games. Over their last 18 road games the Wild are 3-12-3 scoring a total of 20 goals.

…… The Wild last played at the Bell Centre Dec. 17, 2009 and won 3-1. Robbie Earl, Mikko Koivu and Cal Clutterbuck scored for the Wild. Andrei Kostitsyn for the Canadiens. Backstrom stopped 30 shots. Canadiens outshot Minnesota 23-11 over the final forty minutes. Guillaume Latendresse’s first game back in Montreal since his trade to the Wild two months earlier.

……The last time the Canadiens beat the Wild on home ice was a 4-2 victory Nov. 26, 2006. Alexei Kovalev, Steve Begin, Radek Bonk and Mike Komisarek (ENG). First star was Christobal Huet stopping 36 of 38 shots. Pascal Dupuis and Stephane Veillieux for the Wild. First round Minnesota draft pick Benoit Pouliot made his NHL debut for the Wild in this game.

…… Neither team is particularly good at protecting a lead. The Wild have a .773 win percentage when leading after two periods.  The Canadiens are at .741 in the same circumstance.  Those are two of the five worst percentages in the League. Montreal’s .600 and Minnesota’s .588 win percentages when leading after one period are  two of the four lowest rates in the League.

……Both team captains are out with injuries. Brian Gionta gone for the rest of the season after biceps surgery; Mikko Koivu, will miss his seventh consecutive game and is likely out for another two weeks after re-aggravating a shoulder injury.

…… Dany Heatley has no goals in his last seven games, but has eight goals in his last seven games and 50 points in forty career games against the Canadiens.

……The Canadiens claimed Brad Staubitz off re-entry waivers from Minnesota on Monday. In two years with Minnesota Staubitz played in 114 games was involved in 25 fights and scored 4 goals.

……At the trade deadline the Wilde acquired D-Tom Gilbert from Edmonton in return for D-Nick Schultz and received Kurtis Foster, Stephane Veillieux and Nick Palmeiri from New Jersey in return for the unhappy Marek Zidlicky.  Palmieri, who played at times with Ilya Kovalchuk in New Jersey, has been slotted on the Wild’s first line with Dany Heatley and Kyle Brodziak.

…….The Wild have used a team record 42 players this season surpassing their previous mark of 40 set last season.

……Despite 307 man-games lost to injury, Blake Geoffrion and Brad Staubitz became the 33rd and 34th players to wear a Canadiens sweater this season.

…..Defenceman Marco Scandella, a St. Leonard native, will play his first game at the Bell Centre in front of 16 family members. He was selected by the Wild in the 2nd round (55th overall) in 2008 from Val D’Or of the QMJHL. He is a nephew of former Hab, and current broadcaster Sergio Momesso.

The Hard Cold Stats –

Season RecordsMinnesota – (28-26-9) Canadiens (24-30-10)

Last Ten GamesMinnesota 3-6-1; Montreal 3-6-1

Season Series- This is the first and only meeting. Last meeting – Mar. 20/2011 @St. Paul – Canadiens-8 Minnesota-1. , P.K. Subban with a hat trick and David Desharnais and Benoit Pouliot with three assists each..

Home/Road – Minnesota on the Road (13-15-5) Canadiens at Home (11-14-8)

Special Teams – Power Play – Minnesota ranked 22nd – 15.8% (32/203); Canadiens ranked 29th – 13.6% (32/236). Penalty Killing – Minnesota ranked 10th – 83.1% (37/219) Canadiens ranked first – 89.3% (26/243)

Goaltending – Minnesota – Niklas Backstrom 41GP (17-17-6) 2.41GAA .921save% 4 shutouts. Canadiens – Carey Price – 55GP (22-24-9) 2.40GAA .915save% – 4 shutouts.

Who’s Hot: Minnesota – Center Matt Cullen has three goals in the last five games; Dany Heatley – four points last five games. Canadiens – David Desharnais – 3 points in his last two games.

The Missing – Minnesota – Mikko Koivu (IR-shoulder); Pierre-Marc Bouchard (IR-concussion); Guillaume Latendresse IR-(post-concussion syndrome); Clayton Stoner (IR-lower body); Mike Lundin (IR-sports hernia); Jarrod Palmer (IR-upper body) Canadiens – D- Andrei Markov (IR-knee arthroscopic surgery); RW-Brian Gionta (IR-bicep surgery), LW-Travis Moen (IR-neck); RW-Mike Blunden (IR arthroscopic knee surgery). LW-Mathieu Darche (dizziness)

The Minnesota Forward Lines Tonight

Dany Heatley -Kyle Brodziak -Nick Palmieri

Cal Clutterbuck -Matt Cullen -Devin Setoguchi

Stephane Veilleux-Warren Peters -Jed Ortmeyer

Matt Kassian -Darroll Powe -Nick Johnson