Five NHL questions: Defensive battles on tap for four-game slate

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

A daily feature that asks the five biggest questions about today's NHL action. Will they be answered? (That doesn't count as one of the five questions.)

1. How will Cam Talbot perform against the Winnipeg Jets?

Talbot will be making his second consecutive start for the New York Rangers, which has inspired questions about a potential goaltender controversy in New York. Talbot has held opponents to two goals or less in each appearance this season, while Winnipeg has registered the eighth fewest goals per game average entering competition on Monday night.

2. Goaltender duel in Minnesota?

The Philadelphia Flyers will challenge the Minnesota Wild on Monday night, which will feature two of the league's strongest defensive teams. Conversely, Minnesota and Philadelphia rank in the bottom-third in goals per game average, which sets the table for a low scoring affair. Josh Harding will get the nod for Minnesota, while Ray Emery has been confirmed in goal for Philadelphia.

3. Will the New Jersey Devils take over possession of third place in the Metropolitan Division?

With a Rangers loss and a win they will. The Devils appeared destined for the lottery draft (a pick they wouldn't be able to use) this season but have since emerged in the underperforming Met. Will they establish footing in the early view of the playoff picture?

4. Will the Montreal Canadiens score three goals or more against the Devils?

The Canadiens have done so in five of their last six games, but New Jersey ranks as one of the stingiest teams in the NHL, holding rival clubs to a 2.22 goals against average this season. Montreal ranks as the league's second best team in that category, as they carry a collective 2.00 goals against average into Monday night.

5. Will the Los Angeles Kings pick up where they left off against the St. Louis Blues?

Arguably the best opening round series from last year's playoffs, the Kings won four straight against the Blues to advance to the second round. These clubs have developed a bit of a rivalry over the past few seasons, with the Kings holding the upper-hand. Will that remain the case on Monday night?

More from SB Nation NHL:

Do the Rangers have a goalie controversy?

Killer Curves: How McSorley’s stick turned the ‘93 Finals

Evgeni Malkin has found his game

Devils going green for outdoor game

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