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Habs host Wild in battle between struggling teams

The Canadiens haven't racked up many goals over their losing streak, but scoring wasn't an issue the last time they faced the Wild.

Montreal hopes to avoid matching its longest losing streak of the season tonight as it visits equally-struggling Minnesota.

The Canadiens have dropped five straight in regulation and sit last in the Eastern Conference with 58 points. They have been outscored 16-5 over their current slide and are in danger of matching the season-worst 0-4-2 drought posted back on Oct. 13-24.

David Desharnais scored the lone Montreal goal in a 2-1 setback to hosting Tampa Bay on Tuesday. Carey Price made 20 saves but was outdueled by Mathieu Garon's 23 stops for the Lightning.

"I think we had a couple of late shifts that hemmed them up into their own zone and we had some opportunities, but that's the way it goes sometimes," Canadiens head coach Randy Cunneyworth said. "You have to credit their goaltender. He played a very good game."

Montreal has won three of its past four versus Minnesota, including an 8-1 road victory in the lone meeting between the clubs last season. That seven- goal triumph featured the first hat trick of Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban's career and he also added an assist.

The Wild are 2-2-0 with a tie all-time at home versus the Canadiens and come into this game with their own offensive issues. Tuesday's 4-0 loss to the Kings marked their ninth defeat in 12 games and Minnesota has been held to one goal or less in eight of their past 13.

Minnesota was shut out in its first game since trading steady defenseman and the franchise's all-time leader in games played, Nick Schultz, to Edmonton for the more offensive-minded blueliner Tom Gilbert.

"It was nice. The first period I was trying to get my feet under me," said Gilbert, a Minnesota native. "I wish we had scored a couple more goals, but it was a good experience."

Los Angeles jumped on Minnesota for three goals in the first period on Tuesday and Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom came up with just 15 saves.

"We didn't create any breaks because we didn't deserve any and earn any. It was another game where we started on our heels. They took it to us and we didn't fight back," said Wild forward Kyle Brodziak.

Minnesota had won three of four coming in, but sit six points back of the Stars for the eighth spot in the West.

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