NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, October 23rd (All times eastern)
Minnesota Wild (2-6-0) at St. Louis Blues (3-3-1), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - While the Minnesota Wild have yet to win on the road this season, the St. Louis Blues have more wins in Europe than they do in North America.
The struggling clubs meet this evening in the Gateway City at Scottrade Center.
Minnesota missed the playoffs for the first time in four seasons last year, going just 17-22-2 on the road. The Wild haven't been able to reverse that trend this year, dropping each of their first six games as the guest in 2009-10.
The club was outscored 20-10 over a winless five-game road trip, but managed to post a 3-2 shootout win over Colorado at home on Wednesday. One day after being named the Wild's first-ever full-time captain, Mikko Koivu tied the game late in the third period with a power-play goal before notching the lone shootout tally.
Koivu, who also assisted on Brent Burns' power-play marker earlier in the game, redirected an Antti Miettinen pass with 4:51 remaining in the third to force extra time, helping make Niklas Backstrom's 33 saves stand up.
"We came through in the end," Miettinen said. "We fought [back] and got two points. That's what we really needed."
Minnesota was also sparked by the return of Martin Havlat, who had missed the previous two games because of a groin injury. However, Petr Sykora has been sidelined for the last four contests due to a groin problem of his own.
St. Louis will try to pick up just its second win on home soil tonight. The Blues got off to a fast start, sweeping a two-game set against Detroit in Sweden to begin the season, but they have since lost four of five (1-3-1).
The club was drilled, 5-1, by the Penguins on Tuesday. Paul Kariya had the lone goal in the loss, while Chris Mason allowed four goals on 35 shots through two periods before being replaced by Ty Conklin. Conklin halted seven shots the rest of the way.
"The shots and the total domination by Pittsburgh was clear," stated Blues coach Andy Murray. "To see such a drop-off is difficult to understand."
The Blues won three of their four meetings with the Wild last year, winning both encounters at Scottrade Center. Minnesota has lost four of its last seven in St. Louis.
10/23 10:31:02 ET