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Preview: Blues at Wild

Forward Ivan Barbashev makes NHL debut for St. Louis; Wild try to stay hot at home

by Jessi Pierce / Correspondent

BLUES (24-19-5) at WILD (31-11-5)

(8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV)


Blues team scope

St. Louis Blues forward Ivan Barbashev will make his NHL debut. Barbashev, selected by St. Louis in the second round (No. 33) of the 2014 NHL Draft, will fill in for forward Kyle Brodziak, who injured his right foot in a 3-0 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday. "I got the text message last night and I was really excited, really pumped," Barbashev said. "[The Blues] have [game] situations that are different from Chicago [of the American Hockey League] so it will be a little hard probably but I'll talk to [coaches]. … I'm just really happy to be here." Barbashev has 37 points (19 goals, 18 assists) in 44 AHL games this season. Goaltender Carter Hutton will start, as he has in five of the past seven games. Hutton made 34 saves Tuesday for his sixth shutout in five NHL seasons. 


Wild team scope

The Minnesota Wild will play their third straight Central Division game. The Wild, 7-2-0 in the past nine games and 20-3-2 in the past 25, enter Thursday two points ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the division and in the Western Conference. "[The players] have to motivate themselves," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I can only do so much. One of the things we talk a lot about is self-preparedness. Tonight is one of those games. You look around the League, and I think Pittsburgh was ready for a holiday and Anaheim was ready for a holiday. We've gotta make sure we see those things and we're not like that." Minnesota is 11-3-0 in the past 14 home games and 16-6-0 at Xcel Energy Center this season. "We have to make sure we're building a tough place to play in," forward Jason Pominville said. "I think we've been good on the road and I think we want to be even better at home and we're kind of pushing in that direction." Goaltender Devan Dubnyk will start for Minnesota after making 35 saves in a 3-2 shootout victory against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday. Parise is playing in his 800th NHL game and Dumba is playing in his 200th NHL game.


Blues projected lineup

Robby Fabbri -- Paul Stastny -- Alexander Steen

Jaden Schwartz -- Jori Lehtera -- Vladimir Tarasenko

Dmitrij Jaskin -- Patrik Berglund -- David Perron 

Scottie Upshall -- Ivan Barbashev -- Ryan Reaves

Joel Edmundson -- Alex Pietrangelo

Robert Bortuzzo -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Jay Bouwmeester -- Colton Parayko

Carter Hutton

Jake Allen

Scratched: Nail Yakupov, Carl Gunnarsson

Injured: Kyle Brodziak (foot)

Wild projected lineup

Nino Niederreiter -- Eric Staal -- Charlie Coyle

Jason Zucker -- Mikko Koivu -- Mikael Granlund

Zach Parise -- Erik Haula -- Jason Pominville 

Chris Stewart -- Tyler Graovac -- Jordan Schroeder 

Ryan Suter -- Jared Spurgeon

Mike Reilly -- Matt Dumba

Marco Scandella -- Christian Folin 

Devan Dubnyk

Darcy Kuemper

Scratched: Nate Prosser

Injured: Jonas Brodin (fractured finger), Victor Bartley (arm)


Status report

Brodziak is expected to miss up to five weeks. Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said the loss of Brodziak will leave a gap in the line, but he will rely on linemates Upshall and Reaves to help Barbashev. "Barbashev has played real well, he deserved to come up, but [that line] is not going to have the same role that it did with Brodziak," Hitchcock said.


Who's hot

Steen has six points (three goals, three assists) in the past four games. … Schwartz has five points (one goal, four assists) in the past three games. … Shattenkirk has seven points (three goals, four assists) in the past six games. … Stastny has two goals and two assists in the past four games and is two goals away from 200 in his NHL career. … Niederreiter has seven points (three goals, four assists) in the past six games. … Granlund has nine points (one goal, eight assists) in an eight-game point streak. … Suter has four points (one goal, three assists) in the past three games. … Pominville has six points (two goals, four assists) in a four-game point streak.

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