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Blues look to build off win as they face Wild

by Dave Lozo
WILD (28-20-5) at BLUES (24-20-8)


Last 10 --
Minnesota 7-3-0; St. Louis 4-4-2

Season series -- This is the first of four meetings between the team and the front end of a home-and-home series that will conclude Saturday.

Big story -- The Wild are surging and right on the cusp of the playoff picture. The Blues, however, need two points in the worst possible way as they sit seven points of the eighth place in the West.

Team Scope:

Wild --
It was the usual recipe for success in the Wild's 3-2 victory against the Avalanche on Wednesday -- timely scoring and a solid game from goaltender Niklas Backstrom.

John Madden's second-period goal was the winner, and Backstrom made 23 saves.
"When a goalie looks calm and controlled, he looks like he's on top of his game," coach Todd Richards said. "I think Nik has a confidence now with the guys in front of him, and without question the guys in front of him have a confidence in Nik."

Blues --
The Blues have fallen on hard times with 11 losses in their last 15 games, but they enter Friday on a high note after beating the Panthers 2-1 on Tuesday.

Trailing 1-0 after the first period, the Blues rallied on the road behind goals from David Backes and a late winner by Matt D'Agostini.

"We finally put together a full 60 minutes and got rewarded for it," Backes said. "It took us a while but our goalie is good enough to keep us in games when we haven't been up to snuff."

Who's hot -- Wild winger Martin Havlat has 4 goals and 2 assists in his last 7 games. … Backes has 4 goals in his last 6 games for the Blues.

Injury report --
The Wild and Blues have no new injuries to report.

Stat pack --
Minnesota's penalty killers are 12-for-12 over the past four games. … The Blues' power play has been dreadful of late, going 5-for-46 over the last 15 games.

Puck drop --
"It's a long season. We need to make sure we go game by game. We need to pick up points in every game if we want to make the playoffs." -- Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak

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