December 02, 2014

The Minnesota Wild are frustrated by back-to-back losses but their woes don't compare to those of the Montreal Canadiens.

The Canadiens seek to avoid their first five-game slide in four seasons Tuesday night when they visit an unhappy Wild club after its four-game home win streak was snapped.

Both teams are completing back-to-back sets. Minnesota (17-9-6) blew an early two-goal lead Monday in a 6-3 loss to Western Conference-leading Dallas.

The Wild had scored 11 goals in their previous two home games before totaling five in their last two overall.

"The last couple games haven't been good enough by our standards," coach Mike Yeo said. "This is what you worry about when you kind of get on a little bit of a streak and things are going well and we scored a bunch of goals at home. You worry about what that's going to do to the group."

The concerns have been amplified for Montreal (20-12-3) after its 5-1 loss at Nashville on Monday. The Canadiens have scored three goals or fewer in their last 12 games and have been outscored 17-4 in their second four-game slide.

"It's not an easy time for anybody but I think this is a good thing for our team to go through something like this," defenseman P.K. Subban said. "We need to find a way to get out of it."

Montreal, which has dropped eight of nine, last lost five in a row Feb. 19-28, 2012.

Coach Michel Therrien has done his best to shake things up, inserting Mike Condon for Dustin Tokarski after Ryan Ellis' goal in the third period put Nashville up 3-0 on 14 shots. It's not clear who will start Tuesday, with Montreal falling to 10-10-3 in games not started by the injured Carey Price.

Therrien also tinkered with his lines, inserting David Desharnais with Max Pacioretty. The captain, who has a team-high 14 goals, has failed to score in eight of the last nine games - coming up empty in all of the defeats.

He's not the only forward struggling, though. Leading scorer Tomas Plekanec has no goals in 19 games, while Alex Galchenyuk's tally Monday ended a nine-game drought.

''We need better performance from goaltending, obviously,'' Therrien said. ''Every goalie that we face, they end up having the first star. The thing a coach could ask is that they are focused on playing the right way, playing in a structure and having a really good work ethic. This is what we ask from the players.''

Nino Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle each had a goal and an assist Monday for Minnesota, which fell to 12-4-1 at home.

"I think our sense of urgency kind of dropped and we stopped going as hard for pucks, and winning those loose-puck battles and what we were doing before to make us successful,'' Coyle said.

Minnesota's Mikko Koivu had a four-game point streak snapped in which he totaled nine.

The Wild are 4-0-0 at home against Eastern Conference foes.

Darcy Kuemper will likely start in goal for Minnesota after Devan Dubnyk started Monday. Kuemper is 2-0-2 with a 1.48 goals-against average in four starts this month.

The home team has won the last five meetings since Subban notched his only career hat trick in an 8-1 rout March 20, 2011.

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