Wild-Blues Preview

Despite lopsided victories in consecutive games, the St. Louis

Blues still have little hope of reaching the postseason. The

Minnesota Wild’s chances for a playoff berth have all but faded

away during their longest losing streak in franchise history.

The Wild will try to avoid extending that skid to nine when they

wrap up a home-and-home series Tuesday night with the Blues, who

will likely play without center T.J. Oshie.

After losing four of five, St. Louis beat Edmonton 4-0 at home

Thursday before a 6-3 win in Minnesota two days later.

Chris Stewart broke a 2-all tie with the first of his team’s

four consecutive goals, and the Blues outshot the Wild 47-16 after

posting a 30-12 advantage against the Oilers.

The victory pulled St. Louis (34-32-9) within a point of

Minnesota (35-32-8) in the Western Conference, but the Blues are

still 12th.

“We’ll keep playing hard until the end of the season whether

we’re eliminated or not. There’s a lot of pride in this room,” said

forward David Backes, who had a goal and an assist.

“Whether it’s Game 7 of the playoffs or game 75 that really has

no playoff implications, you’re looking for guys that are putting

it all out. We still have a pretty good group of 20 guys.”

One of those guys, Oshie, did not show up for practice Monday

and the Blues deemed it an unexcused absence. Coach Davis Payne

said he would speak with general manager Doug Armstrong about

possible discipline for Oshie, who had a goal and an assist against


Oshie will likely sit during St. Louis’ attempt to earn its

fourth victory in five home games. The Blues suspended Patrik

Berglund for one game last season after he overslept and missed a


The Wild tried to deal with their problems with a 30-minute,

closed-door meeting following Saturday’s game.

“I’ve said it before and there are probably questions out there,

but there’s character in the room. There’s leadership in the room,”

said coach Todd Richards, who refused to say what was


One issue Richards could have touched on is how to get more

scoring. The Wild have been outscored 37-12 during their 0-7-1

slide and 15-4 during a season-high four consecutive road


They fared much better in their previous trip to the Scottrade

Center on Feb. 11, a 5-4 shootout win that snapped a four-game

slide in St. Louis. Martin Havlat scored the tying goal with 57.6

seconds left in regulation and John Madden won it in the ninth

round of the shootout.

Cal Clutterbuck had two goals in that game and scored again to

help the Wild to a 3-1 win the next day and a sweep of the

home-and-home set. Antti Miettinen has scored three times this

season against St. Louis, including two goals Saturday.

Andrew Brunette had three assists in the loss, giving him eight

points in his last four games versus the Blues.

Berglund has scored in each of those contests.