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St. Louis
Blues
39-30-11-2
Minnesota
Wild
30-29-20-3

24 SOG
26 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
STL
MIN
game preview

St. Louis Blues vs. Minnesota Wild

Sunday, 04.04.2004 / 2:00 PM

Associated Press

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St. Louis Blues vs. Minnesota Wild
St. Louis Blues vs. Minnesota Wild
Blues-Wild Preview

GAME: St. Louis Blues (39-29-11-2) at Minnesota Wild (29-29-20-3).

TIME: Sunday, 3 p.m. EDT.

Forgive the St. Louis Blues if they aren't sharp against the Minnesota Wild.

Fresh off extending their playoff streak, the mentally drained Blues will close the regular season with a meaningless game against the Wild at Xcel Energy Center.

With a 4-1 win over Nashville on Saturday, the Blues extended the longest run of consecutive playoff appearances in major professional sports to 25 seasons.

The Blues put their streak in jeopardy by winning just six of 27 games from late December into February. However, they have won 10 of their last 15 (10-3-2), including five of their last seven on the road.

"We put ourselves in a pretty deep hole here, but we've gotten ourselves out of it and I'm proud of that," said Blues center Doug Weight, who had an assist on Saturday to extend his point streak to five games.

"Our guys, we couldn't be playing better going into the playoffs. We believe, and we had our destiny in our own hands and we took advantage of it."

However, since they cannot move from the seventh spot in the Western Conference, expect interim coach Mike Kitchen to rest some of his players, including goaltender Chris Osgood, against the Wild.

"The team has battled hard for a long time here," Kitchen said.

Osgood was the NHL defensive player of the month in March after posting an 8-3-2 record, a 1.97 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage.

The Wild, who will miss the postseason after advancing to the West finals last season, have made the most of their remaining games, going 7-3-0-1 since March 14.

They are coming off a 4-2 win over playoff-bound Dallas on Friday.

"We're playing very well," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. "We're moving the puck like we haven't done often during the year."

Rickard Wallin had two goals, and Marian Gaborik scored on a breakaway to seal the victory for Minnesota.

The Blues lead the all-time series 6-4-5.

STANDINGS: Blues - 91 points, 2nd place, 18 PB, Central Division. Wild - 81 points, 5th place, 20 PB, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Blues - Keith Tkachuk, 33 goals and 71 points; Weight, 51 assists; Mike Danton, 141 PIM. Wild - Alexandre Daigle, 20 goals and 50 points; Andrew Brunette, 33 assists; Matt Johnson, 177 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through April 2): Blues - Power play: 18.1 percent (61 for 337), 8th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.5 percent (305 for 361), 13th. Wild - Power play: 13.4 percent (45 for 335), 28th. Penalty killing: 84.4 percent (238 for 282), 15th.

GOALTENDERS: Blues - Osgood (31-25-8, 3 SO, 2.23 GAA); Reinhard Divis (4-3-2, 0, 2.84). Wild - Dwayne Roloson (18-18-11, 4, 1.92); Manny Fernandez (11-14-9, 2, 2.49).

SEASON SERIES: Wild, 1-0-2.

LAST MEETING: Feb. 2; Wild, 4-0. At Minnesota, Roloson made 24 saves for his third shutout of the season. Osgood was pulled in the second period after allowing three goals on nine shots.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blues - 16-18-4-2 on the road; Wild - 18-13-7-2 at home.


Associated Press
2003-2004 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 04 '04STL 0 at MIN 3S. Veilleux
Feb 02 '04STL 0 at MIN 4W. Walz
Jan 17 '04MIN 2 at STL 2 - OTD. Weight
Jan 05 '04MIN 1 at STL 1 - OTA. Zyuzin
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%