Two of this year’s top teams versus the puck line will meet Thursday night (7:30 PM ET, SN360) when the 21-7-4 Montreal Canadiens host the 19-8-4 Minnesota Wild. The Canadiens are first in the Atlantic Division and first in profits at +18.27 units (21-11 ATS); the Wild are second in the Central and fourth against the puck line at +11.28 units (17-14 ATS).
Both teams have a sparkling +31 goal differential, but Minnesota’s the hotter commodity right now after winning eight straight games. The Wild are also the healthier club by far. Montreal will be without centres Alex Galchenyuk (nine goals, 14 assists in 25 games) and David Desharnais (three goals, six assists in 25 games) for the next six weeks because of knee injuries.
As long as the Canadiens have Carey Price (.936 save percentage), they’ll be competitive. Price is projected to start again for the Habs Thursday night, but the Wild will likely respond with this year’s leading goalie, Devan Dubnyk (.948 SV%). The pride of Regina has won each of his last seven starts, allowing nine goals combined and earning his NHL-best fourth shutout of the season in Tuesday’s 2-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche (+205 away).