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Daily Primer Nov. 25: Blues, Wild aim to gain ground

Monday, 11.25.2013 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

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Daily Primer Nov. 25: Blues, Wild aim to gain ground
Monday, November 25 features nine NHL games, headlined by the Minnesota Wild battling the St. Louis Blues in a Central Division clash (NBCSN, TSN2).

The top four teams in the Central Division are in a heated race for first place. Two of those teams happen to be the hottest in the NHL and will go head-to-head Monday night.

The St. Louis Blues, who are one point behind the Chicago Blackhawks for the division lead, will host the fourth-place Minnesota Wild at Scottrade Center (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2). The Wild are currently tied for third in the Central, one point behind St. Louis and two back of Chicago.

St. Louis is 9-2-1 this month; the Wild are 9-1-1. Minnesota coach Mike Yeo knows his club will need to bring its best effort.

"I would say their defensive squad is about as good as you can find in the League; the way they skate, they're big, they're strong and the way they move the puck, they definitely help their forwards get to their game," Yeo told the Wild's website. "And their forwards obviously have an identity with the way they play."

Here's a look at all of Monday's action:

Pittsburgh Penguins at Boston Bruins -- The top teams in the Eastern Conference meet in the Penguins' first visit to Boston since they were swept out of the Eastern Conference Final last spring. Pittsburgh is 9-1 in its past 10 regular-season games against Boston; the Bruins are 6-0-2 in their past eight home games.

Columbus Blue Jackets at Toronto Maple Leafs -- Columbus concludes a five-game road trip that has seen wins against the Ottawa Senators and Calgary Flames, but blowout losses to the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks. Monday marks the finale of a five-game homestand for Toronto, which will look to make it four wins in five tries at Air Canada Centre before hitting the road for a three-games-in-four-nights stretch.

Winnipeg Jets at New Jersey Devils -- Winnipeg opens a six-game road trip with hopes of putting an end to a four-game losing streak (0-2-2). Jets center Mark Scheifele hasn't scored in 24 games, while forwards Evander Kane and Blake Wheeler haven't connected in 11. The Devils return home after seeing their three-game winning streak come to an end with a 2-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.

New York Rangers at Tampa Bay Lightning -- The Rangers bring a six-game road winning streak to the Sunshine State, where they'll look to continue their recent success against the Lightning after winning three straight against Tampa Bay last season. New York is coming off a 2-0 win against the Nashville Predators on Saturday. The Lightning return home after coming up empty on a four-game road trip (0-3-1); they allowed 17 goals along the way.

Philadelphia Flyers at Florida Panthers -- The Flyers hit the road after going 3-0 on their homestand, capped by a 5-2 win against the New York Islanders on Saturday. Philadelphia, which got off to a 1-7-0 start, has won six of its past seven games. Florida returns home after going 2-2-1 on a five-game road trip. The Panthers are 3-4-1 under interim coach Peter Horachek.

Minnesota Wild at St. Louis Blues -- The two hottest teams in the League clash at Scottrade Center with hopes of gaining ground in the heated Central Division race. The Blues have won their past five meetings with the Wild and are 7-0-2 in their past nine games against Minnesota at Scottrade Center.

Phoenix Coyotes at Nashville Predators -- The Coyotes enter Monday hoping to avoid what would be their first three-game losing streak of the season, and they may have to play without leading scorer Martin Hanzal, who is suffering from a lower-body injury. Nashville saw its three-game winning streak come to an end Saturday, when it dropped a 2-0 decision on home ice to the New York Rangers. The Predators were held to 17 shots in the loss.

Chicago Blackhawks at Edmonton Oilers -- Chicago reaches the halfway point of its "Circus Trip" Monday, hoping to improve to 3-1 on its seven-game road trip. The Blackhawks opened the trip with a loss to the Colorado Avalanche, but have bounced back with victories against the Jets and Vancouver Canucks. Edmonton is finally starting to heat up; the Oilers enter with a three-game winning streak and are going for a sweep of their three-game homestand. Edmonton has outscored its opponents 15-3 during the winning streak.

Los Angeles Kings at Vancouver Canucks -- The Kings are winless in their past two games, but they've earned at least one point in nine straight (6-0-3). Los Angeles fell short Saturday in a 1-0 overtime loss against the Colorado Avalanche at Staples Center. Vancouver has one win in its past seven games (1-4-2). The Canucks have scored more than two goals once in that span.

Quote of the Day

I don't know how he does it. I don't know how he gets his body parallel with the player and pulls it through his legs like that. I know he's tried it a couple times in practice and it's never worked, so how he does it in a game, it's incredible.

— Capitals defenseman Mike Green on teammate Alex Ovechkin's highlight-reel goal against the Devils on Saturday