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Thursday, October 30th (All times eastern)

Montreal Canadiens (6-1-1) at Minnesota Wild (6-1-1), 8 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Two of the best teams in the early part of the 2008-09 season will meet tonight in St. Paul, as the Minnesota Wild welcome the Montreal Canadiens for an interconference battle at Xcel Energy Center.

The Wild were the only team left in the NHL without a regulation loss, but that changed Wednesday night in Dallas as Brad Richards registered a goal and an assist to lead the Stars to a 4-2 decision at American Airlines Center.

Andrew Brunette and Marc-Andre Bergeron lit the lamp for Minnesota (6-1-1), which has dropped nine straight games in Dallas since a 3-2 overtime victory on March 21, 2003.

Niklas Backstrom had played every minute this season, but was pulled after allowing three goals on 13 shots in the first period. Josh Harding stopped 19- of-20 shots the rest of the way.

The Wild are 3-0-1 as the host this year. After tonight's test the club will head out on a four-game road trip.

The Canadiens, meanwhile, are 6-1-1 this year and are coming off a close victory in their latest outing Tuesday night against visiting Carolina. Saku Koivu scored the lone goal of the shootout as the Montreal Canadiens snapped a home-losing streak to Hurricanes with a 3-2 win at the Bell Centre.

With Montreal's second chance, Koivu slid a backhander along the ice between the pads of Cam Ward. Ray Whitney had the last chance for Carolina, but his shot went high.

Alex Kovalev and Alex Tanguay each had a goal for the Canadiens, who had dropped six straight at home against Carolina and had not defeated the Hurricanes in Montreal since a 1-0 win on February 28, 2004.

Carey Price made 31 saves in net for Montreal, which bounced back from its second loss of the season on Saturday against Anaheim.

Tonight marks the first of four straight on the road for the Canadiens, who are 2-0-1 as the visiting team this season.

Montreal has taken two of the last three meetings with the Wild, but the Habs have lost twice in their previous three trips to St. Paul.

10/30 10:59:42 ET


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