Dos and Don'ts for the Habs to push past .500 against the Wild tonight
Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price needs more help from his defence if the Habs have any hope of pushing their record past .500. The visiting Minnesota Wild provides the perfect opportunity to tighten up the back end. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
The Montreal Canadiens will look to convert more chances and cash in on more flashes of flare tonight than the team did Tuesday as the Minnesota Wild come to town tonight.
The Habs were solid against the powerhouse Tampa Bay Lightning, outshooting the visitors by 25 shots for 54 minutes, but were unable to punch more than one past Bolts goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.
The Lightning shooters, however, got the best of Carey Price three times in those six minutes, which proved definitive and deadly.
The Wild (1-5-0), however, are not the Lightning (3-2-1), and the Canadiens (2-2-2) have a perfect opportunity to push past .500 in the final game of Montreal's three-game homestand Thursday night.
- The Canadiens need to put pressure on the Wild and convert opportunities to keep the team's quality 3.5 goals-per-game (10th in the league) rising. Minnesota is a putrid 29th in goals against per game at 4.17, so it is a perfect opportunity for Habs snipers to pad some stats.
- The quality 23.8 per cent power play conversion (12th) is a nice sign, as is the scoring spread, with seven players notching two or more goals in just six games. With the man up, the Habs need to continue to convert.
Protect the goalie.
- As much as the Habs score, they are scored on. Montreal is 28th (right ahead of the Wild) in goals against per game at 3.83, and captain Shea Weber and the rest of the red-and-blue backline need to be better.
- The Habs penalty kill is awful, sitting at 29th in the league, and the units working with a man down need to do better.
Take the Wild lightly.
- Though their record is not great, Minnesota does have quality, with players like Ryan Suter, Eric Staal, Mikko Koivu and a solid collection of veterans that are fully capable of pouncing on an overconfident team.
Look past tonight's game.
- The Habs have back-to-back midwest road games against the Wild (again) and St. Louis Blues Saturday and Sunday, and it is imperative that the team focus tonight and secure a win.
Puck drops at 7 p.m.