The Montreal Canadiens will get some brawn back in the lineup Friday and perhaps some added skill as they attempt to extend their win streak to three games.
Tough guy George Parros will suit up for the Canadiens' tilt in Minnesota against the Wild (8 p.m. ET) while left-winger Max Pacioretty is questionable for that contest and more likely to return Saturday in Colorado.
'I feel good in my head, no headaches, no [post-concussion] symptoms.'- Canadiens' George Parros on his return to lineup
Parros hasn’t played since Montreal’s season opener Oct. 1 when Toronto’s Colton Orr pulled him to the ice during a fight. Parros landed face-first and suffered a concussion.
“It feels good to come back,” Parros told Montreal reporters on Thursday. “I feel good in my head, no headaches, no [post-concussion] symptoms. You’ve got to press forward and play the same way.
Pacioretty, who has two goals and three points in five games this season, has been sidelined with a strained hamstring.
Carey Price will start in net for the Canadiens, who have won four of five on the road this season and sit fourth in the Atlantic Division with an 8-5-0 record.
Price followed Peter Budaj's shutout by stopping 26 shots on Tuesday in a 2-1 victory over the visiting Dallas Stars.
"With the fact that we're missing some players, we have to concentrate on good defensive play and we did that tonight," said Montreal head coach Michel Therrien, who’s also without forwards Daniel Briere (concussion), Brandon Prust (shoulder) and Travis Moen (face). "I like the effort everyone is giving us."
4-game road win streak
Thanks greatly to the efforts of Price and Budaj, the Canadiens have allowed a combined four goals during a 3-1-0 stretch. They have given up two during a four-game road winning streak and would match their longest of the past 30 years with a victory Friday.
Price, who made 36 saves in a 3-0 win at Winnipeg on Oct. 15 in the team's last road game before the victory over the Rangers at New York on Monday, will give Montreal three straight road shutouts for the second time in the franchise's storied history. The Canadiens blanked five consecutive opponents away from home Nov. 20-Dec. 18, 1928.
Minnesota (6-4-3) has yet to be shut out this season but is among the bottom-third of the league in scoring at 2.31 goals per game.
The Wild had won three straight overall and four in a row at home before Monday's 5-1 loss to Chicago. Minnesota had topped the Blackhawks 5-3 on Saturday as Niklas Backstrom limited them to one goal in the first 52 minutes.
Backstrom made 33 saves in that win at Chicago but stopped 23 shots Monday in his second start since returning from a knee injury. Josh Harding, owner of a NHL-best 1.00 goals-against average in nine games this season, was on the bench Monday after missing the trip to Chicago to get treatment for a strained hamstring.
It's unknown if Harding or Backstrom will start this game, but it's likely the Wild will have a new top line as coach Mike Yeo is expected to split up center Mikko Koivu and left-winger Zach Parise.
The Wild have scored two goals or fewer in nine games this season, and Koivu has one in 13 contests but also seven assists. Parise has a team-best nine points (six goals, three assists).
"We know that those guys are very good together and dangerous together, but we want to see if they can click with some other guys and strengthen our whole group," Yeo said. "I think it's been too easy for teams to match up against us."
The Canadiens are 5-1-1 in their last seven matchups with the Wild.