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Leopold to make Blues' debut against Wild

by Eric Goodman /

BLUES (17-14-2) at WILD (21-11-2)


Last 10: St. Louis 5-5-0; Minnesota 8-2-0

Season series: This is the second of three meetings. The Blues won in overtime at home on Jan. 27. Minnesota looks to extend its home winning streak against St. Louis to three games.

Big story: The Wild hope to build off a dramatic come-from-behind shootout victory against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday as they aim for their first Northwest Division title since the 2007-08 season. The Blues are battling for a playoff spot and try to break their current three-game losing streak.

Team Scope:

Blues: St. Louis is coming off a much-needed three days rest as it looks ahead to the Wild at Xcel Energy Center on Monday. It will also have a new face on the blue line as general manager Doug Armstrong sent 2013 second-round and conditional fifth-round NHL Draft picks to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday in exchange for veteran defenseman Jordan Leopold.

The Blues will try to smooth out their recent rough patch following a hard-fought loss to the Kings this past Thursday. The Blues hung in there for most of the game thanks to a pair of goals by Vladimir Tarasenko, but couldn't stop Mike Richards from jamming the puck home in traffic during the closing minutes of regulation as they fell 4-2 for their third straight loss. The play was reviewed by the video team in Toronto and was eventually deemed a good goal.

"It was not good because [the] team [lost]," Tarasenko told regarding his first multi-goal game since opening night. "It doesn't matter how many goals we score and how many games you make, it's all about the win. We don't have selfish players on our team. We're just thinking about wins."

Wild: With wins in eight of its last nine games, Minnesota is among the hottest teams in the Western Conference. And having won four in a row at home, the Wild are playing with a ton of confidence heading into their game Monday. The old adage that success breeds more success rung true Saturday when the Wild battled back from a 3-1 deficit to eventually defeat the Kings 4-3 in the shootout. Forward Charlie Coyle chipped away at the lead with a highlight-reel backhander goal from his knees in the second before Zach Parise sent it to overtime with a power-play goal in the third period. It marked the second home game in a row in which the Wild came back to win the game in extras.

"All I can say is just huge amounts of character," Wild coach Mike Yeo told reporters following the exciting win. "It's back-to-back games, [the Wild fans] sitting here waiting for us, down 3-1 against a team that doesn't give you much and you've got to fight for every inch that you get on the ice. So just a great job by our guys."

Who's hot: For St. Louis, Alex Pietrangelo has a goal and five assists in his past five games against Minnesota. ... Parise has eight points (four goals, four assists) in his past six contests for Minnesota.

Injury report: For the Blues, Jamie Langenbrunner is out for the season with a hip injury. ... For the Wild, forward Torrey Mitchell missed the game Saturday with an undisclosed illness. Goalie Josh Harding is dealing with the effects of multiple sclerosis, but was practicing last week.

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