Following their high-scoring loss to the Maple Leafs, the Minnesota Wild will round out their quick Canadian road trip with a game against the Montreal Canadiens. Fresh off their first win of the season, I’ll break down which Canadiens player I’ll be targeting to light up the shots on goal column after previewing the game.
Minnesota Wild goalie Filip Gustavsson started his season as good as any goalie can, with a shutout win. However, his strong start to the season was quickly ruined after Auston Matthews and the Maple Leafs welcomed him to their arena. In 33 shots, Toronto netted seven goals against Gustavsson to give him a .788 save percentage for the contest.
Following that performance, the Wild will start Marc-Andre Fleury in goal for the final game of their two-game road trip. The 18-year veteran is coming off a solid season with Minnesota, where he posted a .908 save percentage and 2.85 average goals against per game in 46 games. In two starts against Montreal last season, Fleury went 2-0 and allowed just one goal in each game.
In front of him, Fleury will be hoping his offense can get more shots on net than they have through two games this season, as Minnesota ranks 25th in the league through two games with an average of 26.5 shots per game. The Wild offense will be shooting on Samuel Montembeault tonight, who will be getting his second consecutive start in net for the Canadiens.
Montreal picked up their first win of the season on Saturday over the Blackhawks, and Montembeault racked up 28 saves for a .933 save percentage. In 2022, the 26-year-old posted a .901 save percentage, and the good news for him tonight is he won’t have to worry about Matt Boldy since he is out with an upper-body injury.
The Canadiens offense looking to give Montembeault a lead has started the season by scoring eight goals through their first two games, but they do find themselves with the 9th most giveaways in the league as well. Montreal will also be missing a key piece of their team since Kirby Dach is out with an injury that looks to be significant.
After having his season cut short by injury last year, Cole Caufield has started the 2023 campaign on a high note with two goals in two games. For my play tonight, I’ll be backing Caufield to go over his shots on goal total of 3.5 at (+110).
In their 3-2 win over the Blackhawks, Caufield was tied for the team lead with five shots on goal, and tonight, he takes on a Wild team that has allowed an average of 37 shots per game, which is the third-highest average in the league.
In 46 games last season, Caufield went over this total in 24 of them, including one of the two games he played against Minnesota in which he had eight. Through the first two games of the season, the right-winger is second on the team with six shots on goal, and he is on the 1st powerplay unit, which could lead to some shots tonight since Minnesota has ten penalties through two games.
Cole Caufield Over 3.5 Shots on Goal (+110)