Francis Bouillon who missed all of the Canadiens first 19 games will make his NHL debut tonight as a forward. The Canadiens will dress six other defensemen, Mike Komisarek, Andrei Markov, Sheldon Souray, Craig Rivet, Mathieu Dandenault and Mark Streit, with Janne Niinimaa selected as the healthy scratch.
This game will also be a special one for Canadiens Captain Saku Koivu as he will play his brother for the second time in the NHL and the first time in Montreal. Saku’s younger yet much bigger brother Mikko Koivu is currently on a three game point streak which has seen him score twice and add three assists. Since late October Mikko has been given a larger role with Minnesota, he begun the year on the third line never getting more than 15 minutes of ice time, but since October 21st he has received 16+ minutes in 11 of his last 13 games.
Minnesota and Montreal are the only 2 NHL teams which currently rank both in the top 5 in power play and penalty kill efficiency.
Game Notes: RW Pavol Demitra (concussion-like symptoms) and C Wes Walz (strained hip flexor) didn’t practice and will be game-time decisions. The Wild have called up Benoit Pouliot from the AHL. – Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Tomas Plekanec is back between Alex Kovalev and Sergei Samsonov after the Canadiens returned Andrei Kostitsyn to the Hamilton Bulldogs. – Montreal Gazette
1. Cristobal Huet made his first start for the Canadiens against the Wild last year.
2. Brian Rolston single handedly beat the Canadiens in their only match-up last year scoring twice and adding two assists, one of which was on the game winning goal.
3. Steve Begin was kicked out the Canadiens Wild game last year for a questionable hit from behind, after the hit he got into a tussle with Alex Henry.