NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, December 26th
(All times eastern)
St. Louis Blues (17-14-5) at Minnesota Wild (18-16-3), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - After ripping through western Canada, the St. Louis Blues
head to Minnesota tonight to close out a four-game road trip versus the Wild
at Xcel Energy Center.
St. Louis has outscored its opponents 12-4 in picking up wins in Vancouver,
Edmonton and Calgary, improving to an outstanding 11-3-3 on the road this
season. The Blues latest stop came on Wednesday, a 2-1 shootout victory over
Patrik Berglund scored in regulation, while Brad Boyes and T.J. Oshie,
celebrating his 23rd birthday, both scored in the shootout. Chris Mason made
23 stops and then another two in the deciding session.
"It was just a tight hockey game, almost a playoff-type feeling," said St.
Louis head coach Andy Murray, whose club won for the fifth time in its last
six on the road.
The Blues were also sparked by the return of captain Eric Brewer, who had
missed the last 13 games due to a back issue.
While St. Louis looks to continue its roll on the road, Minnesota wraps a
three-game homestand having won five of its last six as the host. Overall, the
Wild are 11-4-1 at home this year, having split the first two games of this
After a setback to the Avalanche on Monday, the Wild skated past the Oilers,
3-1, two nights later. Owen Nolan notched the game-winner in the second
period, while Andrew Brunette and Guillaume Latendresse also scored.
"I didn't have many options. He's a big goalie and the scouting report is he
goes down, so I tried to get the puck up," Nolan said about his approach to
scoring against Edmonton goaltender Jeff Deslauriers.
Brunette, who leads Minnesota with 11 goals, scored for the first time in nine
games, while Niklas Backstrom made 30 saves.
The Wild were coming off consecutive losses, but are now 11-4-1 over their
last 16 games.
Minnesota will try to end a three-game losing streak to St. Louis tonight, but
has won two of three and eight of the last 10 played at Xcel Energy Center.
The Blues notched a 3-1 home win on October 23, getting a goal and an assist
out of David Perron and 20 saves from Mason, who is 4-3-2 with a 3.29 goals-
against average lifetime versus Minnesota.
Backstrom made 23 saves and is 4-5-0 with a 2.41 GAA in his career when facing
12/26 11:02:44 ET