The St. Louis Blues got right back on track after a loss with a
lopsided win over a lesser opponent their last time out. A matchup
with another struggling team should give them a good chance to
continue their push for the top spot in the Western Conference.
The surging Blues look to extend the Minnesota Wild’s losing
streak to seven when the teams meet for the fourth time this season
Saturday at the Scottrade Center.
St. Louis (35-15-7) rebounded from a 2-1 defeat to NHL-worst
Columbus on Tuesday – which snapped a four-game winning streak –
with a 5-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Thursday. T.J.
Oshie had a goal and two assists and Alex Pietrangelo added three
assists for the Blues, who fell behind 59 seconds in before taking
control with all of their goals in the first and second
Still, coach Ken Hitchcock wasn’t thrilled with his team’s
defensive effort. St. Louis gave up 26 shots and was outshot 10-7
in the third, two days after the Blue Jackets held a 33-32
advantage in shots.
“Our best player tonight was our goalie. Our goalie was
terrific,” Hitchcock said of Brian Elliott, the NHL goals-against
average leader at 1.61. “Our goalie (backup Jaroslav Halak) was our
best player the last game that we lost.
“We’re giving up far too many chances. We’re getting beat in
areas that we haven’t gotten beat at in all year and we’re going to
have to address it and get going, get a little bit better.”
The Blues, though, have done enough to go 14-3-2 in their last
19 and are pushing Detroit and Vancouver for first place in the
West. St. Louis is holding down the fourth playoff spot in the
That’s due in large part to having the most points at home in
the league with a 25-3-4 record. St. Louis has gone 8-0-1 in its
last nine at the Scottrade Center, giving up 10 goals in that
stretch, and has points in a team-record 20 straight home
The Blues appear to have an excellent opportunity to extend that
home dominance against the Wild (25-23-9), who have managed nine
goals during their six-game slide. The league’s second-lowest
scoring team has dropped two in a row on the road and scored one
goal in five of its last six road contests.
Minnesota posted its highest offensive output since Jan. 31 on
Thursday but lost 4-3 in a shootout to Winnipeg. Mikko Koivu’s
first goal since Dec. 29 gave the Wild a 3-2 lead at 1:03 of the
third period, but they surrendered the equalizer exactly 2 minutes
Minnesota fell to 10-9-5 when scoring first, the worst such
record in the NHL.
“It sits on all of us,” defenseman Nick Schultz said of the
club’s struggles to score.
The Wild lead the season series with the Blues 2-0-1, but
Minnesota’s victories came in November when it was in the midst of
a 20-7-3 start. St. Louis took the most recent meeting 3-2 in a
shootout Jan. 14 at home, a chippy game that included three fights
and 66 penalty minutes.
All three matchups have been decided by one goal.
Halak started all of those, giving up two goals each time.
Elliott, though, has posted a 1.10 GAA in winning his last four
St. Louis left wing David Perron has seven goals and two assists
during a six-game point streak.