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Blues go for eighth straight win vs. Wild

by John Kreiser

BLUES (43-14-6) at WILD (34-22-7)


Last 10: St. Louis 7-2-1; Minnesota 6-2-2

Season series: The St. Louis Blues have won their past seven games against the Minnesota Wild, including two this season. The most recent was a 2-1 victory by the Blues on Dec. 31 at Xcel Energy Center. They play two more times this season.

Big story: Can anyone slow down the Blues with Ryan Miller in goal? St. Louis has won all four games since its big trade with the Buffalo Sabres on Feb. 28, and a win against the Wild would move the Blues into first place in the overall standings. Minnesota holds the first of two wild-card spots in the Western Conference, meaning that these teams could meet in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Team Scope:

Blues: St. Louis was a very good team before acquiring Miller. The Blues have been unbeatable with him in goal. A 2-1 road victory against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday gave Miller a 4-0-0 record since coming to St. Louis, and he's allowed six goals in those four games.

"It's been great to contribute," he said after making 26 saves in the win against the Avalanche. "Things have really worked out in our favor. It's been good, a hardworking game. Guys are playing honest hockey, and they've gotten good results because of it."

The win was Miller's first in seven career decisions against the Avalanche; he had been 0-3-3 with a 3.59 goals-against average and a save percentage of .888.

Miller might get his first day off; coach Ken Hitchcock indicated during the week that he intended to give Brian Elliott a start in one of the two games this weekend.

Wild: Minnesota was less than a period away from its fifth win in a row, but couldn't hold off the Dallas Stars, who scored twice for a 4-3 victory. Erik Cole's breakaway goal snapped a 3-3 tie with 4:49 remaining in regulation. The game-winning goal came four minutes after Tyler Seguin tied the game during a five-minute power play awarded after Erik Haula was assessed a major penalty for charging after colliding with Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen.

"We battled really hard in this game," coach Mike Yeo said. "Our guys put a lot into it, but we just didn’t do it smart enough."

Yeo wasn't happy with the call on Haula, feeling that his player had been tripped before hitting Lehtonen. But he said the call wasn't why the Wild lost.

"I'm not going to sit here and complain about that," he said. "We did enough things in this game to shoot ourselves in the foot."

Who's hot: Right wing T.J. Oshie has three points in St. Louis' past three games. Miller has allowed six goals on 90 shots since coming to the Blues. … Minnesota center Kyle Brodziak has scored a goal in back-to-back games.

Injury report: Blues defenseman Jordan Leopold (ankle) and forward Vladimir Sobotka (knee) are sidelined, though Leopold could return as early as next week and Sobotka has been skating. … Wild forward Jason Zucker (leg) is on injured reserve. Goaltenders Josh Harding (illness) and Niklas Backstrom (abdomen) are not expected to play again this season.

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