Preview: Wild at St. Louis
- January 26, 2013 - 7:22 PM
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Preview: The Wild has lost two in a row, including its first road game, 5-3 Friday at Detroit. This will be the second of back-to-backs for the Blues, who played in Dallas on Saturday night. Before Friday, the Wild had allowed the third-fewest goals per game (1.5) and fewest shots per game (19.5). Four of the last five meetings between the Wild and Blues have been decided by one goal. The Wild is 22-13-9 all time vs. the Blues, 9-8-5 in St. Louis.
Players to watch: Before Saturday's games, RW Vladimir Tarasenko led NHL rookies with four goals and 16 shots. RW T.J. Oshie was second on the team with five points. LW Zach Parise leads the Wild with six points in four games and leads the NHL with 23 shots. Parise and RW Dany Heatley are tied for the team lead with three goals apiece. Parise has scored three goals in five career games vs. St. Louis. C Mikko Koivu has 19 points in 25 games against the Blues. Blues RW David Backes has eight goals and 12 points in 24 games against his home-state Wild. Niklas Backstrom is expected to start for the Wild, Brian Elliott for the Blues.
Numbers: Three of the past four meetings in St. Louis have been decided in a shootout, with the Wild winning two. The Wild is 1-for-30 (3.3 percent) on the power play in its past nine trips to Scottrade Center, a span that has seen the Blues go 7-for-40 (17.5 percent). Before Saturday's games, the Blues led the league with seven power-play goals on 13 chances (53.8 percent).
Injuries: Wild D Jared Spurgeon (foot) is doubtful and C Matt Cullen (maintenance) is expected to play.
© 2013 Star Tribune