Last season, the St. Louis Blues snapped a five-year playoff
drought thanks to an impressive late run.
They may be at it again in 2009-10.
The Blues will try to aid their postseason hopes with an eighth
win in nine tries as they conclude a season-high six-game road trip
Sunday against the Minnesota Wild.
St. Louis was last in the Western Conference as late as Feb. 11
last season, but rallied to reach the playoffs for the first time
since 2004 by winning nine of its last 11 games.
The Blues haven’t spent much time in the cellar this season, but
they have dwelt in the bottom half of the standings much of the
That may be changing. St. Louis (32-26-9) has gone 7-1-0 since
Feb. 8, in the process climbing into 10th place in the West and
within five points of eighth-place Detroit.
“We’re probably playing the best hockey we’ve played all year.
It’s a good sign,” forward Andy McDonald said. “We have no other
A 5-1 win in Columbus on Saturday night gave the Blues 30 goals
in their last eight games. They’ve allowed 18 during that
Alex Steen and McDonald have 12 and 11 points, respectively,
during the hot streak. McDonald had a goal and two assists in
Saturday’s victory, while Steen contributed a goal and an
Three other Blues players have also recorded at least eight
points over the last eight games, including Paul Kariya with four
goals and five assists.
The Wild (32-26-9) are 12th in the West and eight points back of
the Red Wings. They had been outscored 13-6 during a four-game
losing streak, but ended the skid Friday night with a 3-2 victory
Andrew Ebbett and Guillaume Latendresse scored in the first
10:11, and Josh Harding bounced back from a poor effort with a
season-high 43 saves.
After starter Niklas Backstrom hurt his groin in a pregame skate
Thursday, Minnesota called upon Harding to make his first
appearance since Feb. 4. He gave up five goals in a loss to
“I didn’t play in a month before that game in Detroit, so I knew
I was going to be a little shaky. But I didn’t expect to be that
shaky,” Harding said. “So I had to forget about the past and look
forward to the future.”
With Backstrom’s status still uncertain, the Wild could look to
Harding again Sunday. The fifth-year goaltender has a 1.74
goals-against average in seven career appearances against St. Louis
but is just 3-2-0.
Minnesota has dropped four of five at home overall, but has won
nine of 11 home matchups with the Blues including the last two.
Latendresse had two goals to lead the Wild over St. Louis 4-3 on