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St. Louis
Blues
Minnesota
Wild

25 SOG
31 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
STL
MIN
game preview

Wild go for back-to-back sweep of Blues

Saturday, 02.12.2011 / 8:00 PM

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

BLUES (24-20-9) at WILD (29-20-5)

TV -- FS-Midwest (HD); FS-North (HD)

Last 10 -- St. Louis 3-4-3; Minnesota 8-2-0

Season series -- It's the back end of a home-and-home series between two Western Conference teams that hadn't met before the Wild went into St. Louis on Friday and rallied for a 5-4 shootout victory.

Big story -- Time is growing short for the Blues if they want to make the playoffs. They can't afford another game like Friday, which saw them blow four one-goal leads, allow the tying goal with less than a minute to play in regulation, then fail to win the shootout despite twice leading by a goal. The Wild, in contrast, has won eight of its last 10 and trails eighth-place Calgary by just one point with two games in hand. The Blues are 13th, seven points behind Calgary, though they have four games in hand.

Team Scope:

Blues -- If St. Louis misses the playoffs, it will be because of games like Friday -- a night the Blues went home with one point when they should have had two.

"There's no time to dwell and sulk and lick our wounds," said St. Louis' David Backes, who had two of the four goals during regulation. "It's time to regroup and come out flying (Saturday)."

They'd better -- the Blues have dropped their last three at the Xcel Energy Center while being outscored 12-5.

Wild -- Needless to say, there were a lot of happy faces in the visiting locker room. The Wild were less than a minute away from going home empty-handed, but got the tying goal from Martin Havlat and the shootout winner in the ninth round by John Madden.

"I was impressed with the way we came back every single time," coach Todd Richards said. "This isn't an easy place to play. I liked the way we played, I like the way we competed."

Who's hot -- The Blues' top line of Backes, Andy McDonald and Brad Boyes has been lighting it up, generating 6 goals and 13 points in the last four games. Backes scored twice in the third period to reach the 20-goal mark this season. … Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck, better known as one of the NHL's big hitters, scored twice on Friday and has a career-best 16 goals, tying him with Havlat for the most on the team

Injury report -- Wild defenseman Marek Zidlicky (shoulder) is day-to-day.

Stat pack -- The Blues have just 10 power-play goals on the road. … Minnesota goaltender Niklas Backstrom, the likely starter, has won five of six career decisions against the Blues.

Puck drop -- There's always pressure in the shootout, but Jose Theodore got an extra dose on Friday. He allowed goals to three of the first four shooters, then stopped the next five for the win. In all, he made five stops when failing to make a save would have lost the game.

"Three shots, they had two goals," Theodore said. "Then after that, I adjusted a few things, my timing and everything. After that, I felt pretty solid."

2010-2011 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 29 '11MIN 3 at STL 2 - SOM. Koivu
Mar 26 '11STL 6 at MIN 3D. Backes
Feb 12 '11STL 1 at MIN 3A. Miettinen
Feb 11 '11MIN 5 at STL 4 - SOJ. Madden
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
D. Backes54202141+157931
A. Steen54152540+42215
B. Boyes54112637+103042
P. Berglund54141933-61660
M. D'Agostini54121527+52933
A. Pietrangelo5161925+101531
V. Sobotka5051722-25010
A. McDonald3091221+71611
E. Johnson5351318-83712
C. Colaiacovo3841317-111301
J. McClement5461016-141411
T. Oshie2331215+1810
E. Brewer538614+35701
B. Winchester499413-108631
B. Crombeen545611-159600
B. Jackman4201010+82700
D. Perron10527+71200
R. Polak30145-22701
R. Reaves8202+02601
N. Nikitin19112-5400
P. McRae7112-3200
C. Porter25022-31400
N. Oystrick7022+2900
T. Strachan24011-72900
A. Cracknell9011+0200
D. Scatchard8011+1600
T. Hensick5011-6200
C. Janssen30000-77800
I. Cole13000-22300
S. Della Rovere7000+01100
N. Drazenovic3000-3000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
J. Halak4218-17-610811582.65.907
T. Conklin156-4-3443743.21.882
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
M. Havlat55163248+43424
M. Koivu55143347+73663
B. Burns53142034-37263
A. Brunette55151833-51273
M. Cullen51102333+11841
C. Clutterbuck54171027+63233
A. Miettinen46111526-52063
K. Brodziak55111223+63410
M. Zidlicky3041620+02220
P. Bouchard3251419+3401
J. Madden538816-8613
N. Schultz5231114+13000
C. Kobasew419413-11501
P. O'Sullivan31268-2400
G. Latendresse8336+2811
E. Nystrom55156-132600
C. Barker46145-103201
C. Stoner33123+84901
G. Zanon55033+43200
B. Staubitz47033-310100
J. Spurgeon26033+4200
J. Falk19022-2600
M. Scandella16022-5200
C. Wellman12011-1400
R. Earl6000-3000
C. Almond5000-1000
M. Kassian4000-11200
C. Gillies3000+0000
W. Peters2000+0200
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
N. Backstrom3318-12-37710582.33.927
J. Theodore2010-7-2536072.74.913
A. Khudobin42-1-05861.59.942