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Daily Primer March 9: Blues look for room at top

Sunday, 03.09.2014 / 3:05 AM / NHL Insider

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Daily Primer March 9: Blues look for room at top
The St. Louis Blues lead the Central Division and are chasing the Anaheim Ducks for the top spot in the NHL standings.

The St. Louis Blues spent most of the season chasing the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the Central Division. After passing Chicago, they turned their sights on the Anaheim Ducks, who have led the overall NHL standings for the past few weeks.

A win Sunday night against the Minnesota Wild will leave the Blues at the top of the heap.

The Blues come into the game with a 4-0-0 record since acquiring goaltender Ryan Miller on Feb. 28. That includes a 26-save performance by the 2010 Vezina Trophy winner in a 2-1 road win against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.

Here's a look at all of the action Sunday:

Detroit Red Wings at New York Rangers -- A national TV audience will see two teams desperate for points as they try to hold on to playoff positions. Detroit is coming off its biggest offensive performance of the season, a 7-4 win against the New Jersey Devils on Friday night that kept the Red Wings in control of the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Rangers are home after a 4-2 road win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday that kept them third in the Metropolitan Division. New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist will be going for a personal milestone; a victory would be the 300th of his career.

Boston Bruins at Florida Panthers -- The Bruins go for a weekend sweep in Florida after rallying from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 in a shootout Saturday night. Rookie Reilly Smith hasn't scored a goal during regulation or overtime since Jan. 28, but he got the winner in the seventh round of the tiebreaker. A victory would move Boston past the Pittsburgh Penguins into first place in the Eastern Conference. Roberto Luongo should be in goal for the second time since returning to Florida on Tuesday. His first game back with the Panthers was a success; he blanked the Buffalo Sabres 2-0 on Friday night.

Chicago Blackhawks at Buffalo Sabres -- Chicago had a couple of days off after routing the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-1 at home Thursday. The Blackhawks have won the past four games between the teams. Buffalo native Patrick Kane will be playing in his hometown for the first time since Oct. 11, 2010. The Sabres are back at First Niagara Center after splitting their two-game trip through Florida, beating Tampa Bay and losing at Florida, though they allowed 44 shots in each game.

St. Louis Blues at Minnesota Wild -- The Blues try to complete a sweep of a three-game road trip that has seen them allow one goal in each of the first two games. Miller might get the night off in favor of backup Brian Elliott; that was the plan disclosed by coach Ken Hitchcock prior to the weekend. The win in Denver gave the Blues a 17-0-1 record within the Central Division. Minnesota let a third-period lead get away in a 4-3 road loss to the Dallas Stars on Saturday night that ended a four-game winning streak, but the Wild still hold the first wild-card position in the Western Conference.

Los Angeles Kings at Edmonton Oilers -- The Kings have been unbeatable since the Olympic break; they begin a two-night trip through Alberta with a 5-0-0 mark since play resumed and have won six in a row overall, including a 3-1 road win against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday. To extend their winning streak, they'll have to beat former teammate Ben Scrivens, who is 5-4-0 with a .941 save percentage since being traded to Edmonton in mid-January. He's coming off back-to-back wins against the Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders.

Quote of the Day

It's really exciting. I'm pretty sure that when I play my first game I'm going to be emotional. To be back on the ice playing a game, being in game situations, with all the routines and rituals I do before games and during the game, I feel like I'm going to be emotional. I'm going to be really happy.

— Montreal Canadiens forward Tim Bozon on playing for the first time since his life-threaning illness