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Minnesota
Wild
48-26-8
St. Louis
Blues
34-35-13

30 SOG
31 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
MIN
STL
game preview

Wild-Blues Preview

Tuesday, 01.30.2007 / 7:00 PM

Associated Press

The St. Louis Blues look to shake off a loss, start another run of winning hockey and resume their unlikely pursuit of a playoff spot Tuesday when they host the Minnesota Wild.

Since dropping a franchise-record 11 straight games between November and December, the Blues have gone 13-3-2 to put themselves in position to make a playoff run. They have also earned 30 points in 22 games since coach Andy Murray replaced the fired Mike Kitchen on Dec. 11.

The Blues (20-22-8) saw their season-high four-game winning streak snapped with a 6-3 loss to Nashville on Saturday. St. Louis limited the Predators to 24 shots on net and killed off four of five power plays, but the effort wasn't enough to defeat the team with the most points in the NHL.

Despite the defeat, the Blues have won seven of their last nine games - including five victories by one-goal margins.

"When you have confidence, everybody knows you've got to run with it," St. Louis center Ryan Johnson said. "We're winning games a lot of times before we even step on the ice because we're so well-prepared."

Bill Guerin's run of three consecutive games with a goal ended Saturday, but he assisted on Petr Cajanek's tally in the third period to extend his points streak to four games. Guerin has six goals and five assists in 14 career games against the Wild, but has not found the back of the net and only has one assist in his last four times facing them.

The Blues still have a lot of ground in the standings to make up after their slow start. They are eight points behind Minnesota (26-21-4) for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

"Really, if you take a look at the overall picture and how many games you have to win and so on, it can be a little bit mindboggling, so right now we're just trying to focus on winning the next game," Murray said.

The Wild had their franchise-best four-game road win streak snapped in their 3-2 loss to Columbus on Saturday. Minnesota played with a two-man disadvantage for much of the first period and gave up two power-play goals in a one-minute span.

Brian Rolston and Pascal Dupuis scored for the Wild, but they could not overcome the early two-goal deficit after collecting 10 penalty minutes in the opening period.

"Probably with all the penalties, that changed the game," Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire said. "After that, we couldn't get back to our game."

Penalties might not be as big an issue for the Wild against a St. Louis team that ranks 29th in the NHL with a 13.6 power-play percentage. The Blues are scoreless in their last 16 opportunities with the man advantage.

The Wild have won five of the last six meetings between the teams.

2006-2007 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 07 '07STL 1 at MIN 5B. Radivojevic
Mar 22 '07STL 1 at MIN 5B. Rolston
Feb 18 '07MIN 3 at STL 5D. Backes
Jan 30 '07MIN 5 at STL 2P. Demitra
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GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%