The Montreal Canadiens (14-13-4) face the Minnesota Wild (13-13-4) at the Xcel Energy Center on Thursday night. The puck drop is scheduled for 8:00 pm ET.
This is the second match-up game of their holiday road trip. They’ll be looking to extend their win streak to three games after an exciting 5-3 win over the New York Islanders on Saturday and a 3-2 overtime win against the Winnipeg Jets.
After an incredibly rocky start to the season, forward Josh Anderson has found his ryhthm. He has scored three 5v5 goals in December, which leads the Canadiens by a two-goal margin.
Yes, you read that right, he’s the only player who has scored more than one goal at 5v5 this month.
Nine other players have one goal, which means there’s plenty of room for improvement from an offensive standpoint.
On that note, forward Emil Heineman will make his NHL debut against the Wild. Heineman possesses high-end shooting talent and offensive prowess, two things the Canadiens could stand to improve in their lineup.
Martin St-Louis confirme qu'Emil Heineman fera ses débuts dans la LNH, ce soir contre le Wild.
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) December 21, 2023
The 22-year-old winger scored seven goals in just 11 games with the Laval Rocket last season, a rather impressive scoring pace given that he had already played 35 games for Leksands in the SHL. He missed significant time in the AHL this season due to an unfortunate that sidelined him just two games into the year. Heineman has scored one goal and two assists in five games since recovering from his concussion.
Emil Heineman jams home the rebound for his first goal of the year.
Laval trailing 3-2 in the first period pic.twitter.com/DCVugxzOJC
— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) December 3, 2023
Samuel Montembeault will be given the start for the Habs.
As for the Minnesota Wild, they’re having a hard time this season, as evidenced by the recent firing of their head coach, Dean Evason. They had lost seven games in a row, well below the expectations heading into the season.
John Hynes took over, and the results have started to improve. The Wild have won seven of their last 10 games, pushing their overall record to 13-13-4.
Forward Kirill Kaprizov continues to score with regularity. He has 10 goals and 17 assists in 30 games, not to mention five points in his last five games.
But despite his impressive production, he’s not leading the Wild in scoring. That title belongs to the eternally productive Mats Zuccarello, who has six goals and 22 assists this season.
While the forwards have maintained their scoring rates, the defensive group has not. As it stands, Brock Farber is the blueliner who has registered the most points this season, with one goal and 13 assists.
Montreal Canadiens Injuries
- Carey Price (IR)
- Chris Wideman (IR)
- Kirby Dach (out indefinitely, ACL/MCL)
- Rafael Harvey-Pinard (IR)
- Jordan Harris (10-14 days)
- Alex Newhook (out 10-12 weeks)
- Tanner Pearson (IR)
Minnesota Wild Injuries
- Mats Zuccarello (IR)
- Jared Spurgeon (day-to-day)
- Sam Hentges (IR)
- Michael Milne (IR)
Montreal Canadiens Projected Lineup
Minnesota Wild Projected Lineup
Kaprizov – Eriksson-Ek – Boldy
Foligno – Rossi – Hartman
Johansson – Gaudreau – Maroon
Duhaime – Dewar – Lettieri
Middleton – Faber
Goligoski – Bogosian
Merrill – Hunt