Mikael Granlund scored twice – including the eventual winner – as the Minnesota Wild topped the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 on Saturday.
Nino Niederreiter opened the scoring for Minnesota (33-27-10), while Erik Haula put the puck into an empty net for some insurance.
Goaltender Devan Dubnyk made 30 saves for the win.
Mark Barberio replied for Montreal (32-32-6) at the 12:13 mark of the first period.
Mike Condon stopped 18-of-21 shots in net for the Canadiens.
The Wild, who came into Saturday’s game sitting ninth in the Western Conference, improved their chances of clawing their way into the post-season.
Granlund’s second goal of the night, on the power play at 11:49 of the second period, proved to be the winner.
He fired a rebound past Condon’s left pad while Montreal’s Michael McCarron served a costly hooking penalty to lift his team to a 3-1 lead.
Minnesota opened the scoring midway through the first period after Niederreiter capitalized on a weak passing attempt by Condon, who found himself far from his net.
The Canadiens evened the score less than two minutes later when Barberio scored his second of the season on a quick rebound from Sven Andrighetto, but the Wild left the period with a 2-1 lead after Granlund’s goal.
After Granlund’s second-period goal, Haula added an empty-netter in the third.
The Canadiens were coming off a two-game winning streak as well as a run of success at home, having gone 7-1-1 at the Bell Centre since the beginning of February.
They had to play without star defenceman P.K. Subban, who had to be stretchered off the ice with what was later described as a “non-serious neck injury” during Thursday’s 3-2 win against Buffalo.
The Canadiens fielded a young squad, calling up rookies Charles Hudon and Darren Dietz from the American Hockey League’s St. John’s IceCaps to fill their depleted lineup. The team added Lars Eller (flu) and Stefan Matteau (lower body) to a long list of missing players that already includes Subban, Brendan Gallagher and goaltender Carey Price.
Barberio took Subban’s usual place next to Andrei Markov, where he scored the Canadiens’ only goal.
Alex Galchenyuk, who was key to Montreal’s last two wins, could not extend his scoring streak to four games.
The Wild won the last matchup between these two teams, besting Montreal by a score of 2-1 on Dec. 22, 2015.Report Typo/Error