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Wild Hosts Blues in Final Game Before All-Star Break

Minnesota is 1-1-1 against St. Louis in three previous games this season

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers /

ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Wild will play its final game before the All-Star break on Thursday when it hosts the St. Louis Blues at Xcel Energy Center.

Minnesota, which is coming off a 3-2 shootout victory over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday, will try to head into the break on a positive note. The Wild is 20-3-2 in its 25 games since Dec. 1.

It also hasn't lost consecutive games in regulation since the beginning of November, something the Wild assured itself of continuing with the win over the Stars. 

"We really make a point of making it known that if you want to be a good team, you've got to bounce back," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "We seem to play pretty good on the road these days, so [Dallas] was a good place for us to play after a tough loss."

In the Blues, the Wild is playing its third straight game inside the Central Division. Minnesota will enter play Thursday two points up on Chicago for first place in the division and 14 points ahead of St. Louis, which currently resides in fourth place.

"We're pretty familiar with those guys, obviously," said Wild forward Jason Zucker. "They're a strong team. They're fast. They're skilled. They make a lot of great plays, so it should be a good matchup for us."

St. Louis broke a three-game losing streak on Tuesday with one of its most impressive wins of the season, a 3-0 whitewashing of the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena. 

Blues goaltender Carter Hutton made 34 saves in the win; Hutton has now blanked both Stanley Cup finalists from last spring over the past 10 days. 

Hutton is expected to get the start for the Blues against the Wild on Thursday. He is 2-0-1 with a 1.98 goals against average and a .936 save percentage in three career starts against Minnesota.

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