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Minnesota Wild vs. St. Louis Blues

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GAME: Minnesota Wild (4-2-1) at St. Louis Blues (2-4-1).

TIME: Saturday, 8:00 p.m. EDT.

The Minnesota Wild have long been known as a team built on defense. Now they will try to build off a record-setting offensive outburst.

The Wild look for a season-high third straight win Saturday night when they meet the St. Louis Blues at the Savvis Center.

Minnesota tallied a record five goals in the third period of its 6-1 win Wednesday night over the San Jose Sharks. The Wild got goals from five different players in the period, including a shorthanded unassisted marker from Marc Chouinard who leads the team with five goals.

Chouinard had just 11 goals in 45 games with the Wild in 2003.

Minnesota has averaged five goals per game at home this season, but its offense on the road has failed to click this season. The Wild have managed just two goals in two road losses this season.

The return of right wing Marian Gaborik may help Minnesota's offense. He had two assists in the win over the Sharks after missing all of training camp and the first seven games of the regular season with a groin injury.

Gaborik, the all-time leading scorer for the Wild, has four goals and six assists in 15 games versus St. Louis.

The Blues have been blanked in its last 121 minutes, 37 seconds against the Wild. At home, though, St. Louis is unbeaten in last four games against Minnesota, going 1-0-3.

St. Louis is coming off a 3-2 in a shootout loss Thursday night to the Nashville Predators. Dean McAmmond scored his team-high fourth goal for the Blues.

Wing Jamal Mayers had an assist in the loss. He has three goals and two assists during a four-game points streak for the Blues.

The Blues will be without Keith Tkachuk, who was placed on the injured list Thursday after being hit in the stomach with the butt end of a stick the previous Saturday. He is not expected to return to the lineup until St. Louis' game Tuesday night against the Phoenix Coyotes.

STANDINGS (through Oct. 20): Wild - 9 points, 2nd place, 4 PB, Northwest Division. Blues - 5 points, 3rd place, 7 PB, Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Wild - Chouinard, 5 goals; Todd White, 7 assists and 9 points; Derek Boogaard, 19 PIM. Blues - Dean McAmmond, 4 goals; Petr Cajanek, 7 assists and 8 points; Christian Backman, 12 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 20): Wild - Power play: 31.3 percent (10 for 32), 1st in NHL. Penalty killing: 95.6 percent (43 for 45), 1st. Blues - Power play: 19.6 percent (9 for 46), 9th. Penalty killing: 86.0 percent (37 for 43), 10th (tied).

GOALTENDERS: Wild - Dwayne Roloson (2-2-0, 1 SO, 2.27 GAA); Manny Fernandez (2-0-0, 0, 1.31). Blues - Patrick Lalime (2-4-0, 0, 3.50); Reinhard Divis (0-0-0, 0, 2.22).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Wild, 2-0-2.

LAST MEETING: April 4, 2004. Blues, 3-0. At St. Paul, Minn., Stephane Veilleux scored a goal and assist to lead the Wild to the home win.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Wild - 0-1-1 on the road; Blues - 2-3-0 at home.


Associated Press
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