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Blues hope to continue winning ways vs. Wild

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 3:48 AM
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Blues hope to continue winning ways vs. Wild
Minnesota Wild vs. St. Louis Blues

WILD (15-5-4) at BLUES (16-3-3)


Last 10: Minnesota 8-1-1; St. Louis 8-1-1

Blue Notes: The Blues are on a franchise-best five game winning streak against the Wild. At home, the Blues have points in 10 consecutive games vs. Minnesota, going 7-0-3. David Backes, a Minnesota native, has four goals and six assists in his last 11 games against the Wild. T.J. Oshie has two goals and eight assists in his last 12 against Minnesota.

Season series: The St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild meet for the first of five times this season. The Blues won all three games between the teams last season, extending their winning streak against the Wild to five. St. Louis is 7-0-2 against Minnesota in the past nine meetings at Scottrade Center.

Big story: The NHL's two hottest teams in November face off for the first time this season. Minnesota is 9-1-1 this month; the Blues are 9-2-1.

Team Scope:

Wild: Josh Harding stepped up last month when starting goaltender Niklas Backstrom went down with an injury. Backstrom returned the favor on Saturday after Harding was injured in warmups, stopping 37 shots against the Winnipeg Jets in a 3-2 shootout victory just hours after returning from a concussion.

"You have to be ready all the time," Backstrom said afterward, "and you never know what's going to happen, so you have to find a way to be ready and be at your best."

Blues: In contrast to the Wild, who are 10 games over .500 despite having outscored opponents by nine goals, the Blues are beating up on a lot of opponents. They lead the NHL with a plus-29 goal differential after routing the Dallas Stars 6-1 at home Saturday night. Six players scored and 13 had at least one point.

"Through the whole lineup, everybody was solid," said center T.J. Oshie, who had a goal and an assist. "When we can go at them in waves, I think that's when we're at our best."

Coach Ken Hitchcock is expected to use starter Jaroslav Halak in goal after Brian Elliott made 34 saves against the Stars.

Who's hot: Minnesota captain Mikko Koivu has nine points in his past six games. … His counterpart with the Blues, David Backes, has goals in back-to-back games. He has 10 goals in 22 games, four more than he scored all last season.

Injury report: The Wild don't know if Harding (lower body) will be ready to play. An MRI on Sunday came up negative. Forward Mikael Granlund (upper body) missed Saturday's game, as did Torrey Mitchell (leg). … Blues forward Ryan Reaves broke his right hand Saturday and is expected to miss a month. Defenseman Jordan Leopold (hand) is out indefinitely.

2013-2014 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 10 '14 STL 2 at MIN 4 M. Moulson
Mar 27 '14 MIN 1 at STL 5 T. Oshie
Mar 09 '14 STL 3 at MIN 2 - SO T. Oshie
Dec 31 '13 STL 2 at MIN 1 J. Schwartz
Nov 25 '13 MIN 0 at STL 3 V. Sobotka
Z. Parise25111122+71662
M. Koivu2551621+61202
J. Pominville2513417+5843
R. Suter2501515+01200
N. Niederreiter255813+61410
M. Granlund2321012+41001
M. Cooke253710+51202
J. Brodin22459+1620
J. Fontaine25617+71001
D. Heatley25437-71230
J. Spurgeon25167+21010
K. Brodziak25246+11400
C. Coyle13246-21311
M. Scandella22055+71200
T. Mitchell22134-4600
K. Ballard9044+6900
C. Stoner23033+42700
M. Dumba13112-5210
N. Prosser12022+01900
Z. Konopka25101-53700
S. Veilleux10000-4600
J. Zucker4000+0000
M. Rupp1000+0000
C. McMillan1000+0000
J. Harding1913-3-2264241.48.939
N. Backstrom92-2-2201862.88.892
D. Kuemper20-1-06166.10.625
A. Steen23191029+151044
D. Backes23101222+123841
T. Oshie2341721+111012
A. Pietrangelo2341418+9420
J. Bouwmeester2311718+13200
K. Shattenkirk2211516+7801
D. Roy236814-2831
J. Schwartz2341014+81100
V. Tarasenko238412+4233
V. Sobotka235611+23211
C. Stewart234610+15910
B. Morrow17437+11611
P. Berglund20167+11400
R. Polak23325+11300
R. Reaves22224+56500
M. Lapierre18213+52200
B. Jackman22033+72200
J. Leopold13022+1400
M. Paajarvi8101-1000
I. Cole11011+5200
C. Colaiacovo1011+1200
A. Cracknell5000+0000
C. Porter2000+0000
J. Halak1813-3-2384262.21.911
B. Elliott74-0-1111621.79.932

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