Blues look to build on home record vs. reeling Wild
Friday, 02.17.2012 / 11:16 AMWILD (25-23-9) at BLUES (35-15-7)
TV: FS-N (HD), FS-WI (HD), FS-MW (HD)
Minnesota 3-5-2; St. Louis 6-3-1
Fourth and final meeting, with the home team having yet to lose. The visitors have come away with a point in each of the last two matchups, though, as they've been decided by shootouts. Kevin Shattenkirk
had the only goal of the penalty-shot tiebreaker in the Blues' 3-2 win on Jan. 14.
With each game that passes, the situation gets a little more dire for Minnesota and the pressure to get two points increases. The Wild, losers of six in a row, are now six points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference and have to jump four teams to get into eighth. They face a stiff test Saturday, as the Blues have lost only seven games in St. Louis all season -- and just three in regulation.
Maybe it's best to hit the road, as Minnesota just completed a four-game homestand without a victory. The Wild did get a point out of Thursday's 4-3 shootout loss to the Jets, but it wasn't much consolation as a pair of teams they're chasing -- Phoenix and Dallas -- won their games, while the Flames' overtime loss to the Stars earned them a point as well. Mikko Koivu
assisted on the game's opening goal by Devin Setoguchi
and scored 63 seconds into the third period to give the Wild a 3-2 lead, but they lost for a franchise-record fifth straight time at Xcel Energy Center.
"If you don't win the game it's really not satisfying," Setoguchi said. "But it's nice that our line was able to put some in. Just missed opportunities again made us come up a little short."
Following a disappointing loss to last-place Columbus, an early test presented itself to St. Louis on Thursday when the visiting Islanders got a goal from Frans Nielsen 59 seconds into the game. The Blues couldn't have responded better, as they took the lead before the end of the first 20 minutes on goals by Jason Arnott
and Shattenkirk, and kept building on the lead en route to a 5-1 victory. Andy McDonald
scored early in the second, his first goal of the season in his third game back from a concussion that had sidelined him since mid-October.
"We kept it pretty simple. We scored four goals from just shots and tips," said defenseman Alex Pietrangelo
, who had 3 assists. "Doing what we do best, just putting pucks to the net, getting in front of the goalie, banging and crashing. Every line contributed. A lot of guys answered the call tonight. It was a good response after the game in Columbus."
Setoguchi has 4 goals and 2 assists in the last four games for the Wild, coinciding with Koivu's return from injury. Koivu has 1 goal and 3 assists during a three-game points streak. … David Perron
has 7 goals in his last six games after scoring for the Blues on Thursday. Pietrangelo has 2 goals and 5 assists in his last four games, while T.J. Oshie
has 1 goal and 5 assists over the same span. Brian Elliott
has won his last four starts, allowing just four goals and posting a .956 save percentage.
Minnesota defenseman Clayton Stoner
(lower body) and forwards Carson McMillan
(lower body), Guillaume Latendresse
(post-concussion symptoms), Jarod Palmer
(upper body) and Pierre-Marc Bouchard
(concussion/groin) are on injured reserve. … St. Louis defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo
(wrist) is day-to-day. Forwards Alex Steen
(concussion-like symptoms) and Matt D'Agostini
(head) are on injured reserve.
The Wild are just 10-9-5 when scoring the first goal, with their .417 points percentage the worst in the NHL. … McDonald's last goal came April 5, 2011, in a 3-1 win for the Blues over the Avalanche.
St. Louis got a pair of key players back for Thursday's game in Arnott and veteran defenseman Kent Huskins
. Both contributed on the offensive score sheet, as Arnott tied the score at 14:40 of the first and Huskins picked up his third assist of the season on Oshie's goal with 5:07 left in the third to close the scoring.