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Gameday preview: St. Louis at Wild

  • April 9, 2014 - 9:42 PM

wild gameday

7 p.m. vs. St. Louis • NBCSN, 100.3-FM

Preview: The Wild, winner of three in a row and 5-0-1 in its past six, clinched the Western Conference’s top wild-card spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs with Tuesday’s 4-3 shootout victory over the Boston Bruins. This is a potential first-round matchup. The Blues, who lead the Central Division, have lost three in a row and four of six since a 5-1 home victory over the Wild on March 27. The Wild is 0-3-1 against the Blues this season and 0-6-3 in its past nine against St. Louis, having been outscored 29-11 during the losing streak.

Players to watch: G John Curry, a Shorewood native who led Breck to a state title as a sophomore in 2000, is expected to make his Wild debut and his first NHL start since being pulled in a Jan. 11, 2010, game for Pittsburgh against Vancouver. D Christian Folin, signed after his sophomore season at UMass-Lowell on March 31, is expected to make his NHL debut, perhaps for D Jared Spurgeon. C Mikko Koivu has 16 points in his past 12 games. He leads the NHL in assists (13) and points (16) since March 18 and will be playing in his 600th NHL game. C Erik Haula has four points in five games since assuming the second-line center role. Blues LW Alex Steen is tied for 10th in the NHL with 33 goals. He is tied with Warroad’s T.J. Oshie with 60 points. G Ryan Miller will start.

Numbers: RW Jason Pominville is one goal from becoming the third Wild player to hit the 30-goal mark. Marian Gaborik and Brian Rolston combined for eight 30-goal seasons with the Wild. … The Blues are the fifth-best offensive team in the NHL (3.00 goals per game) and third-best defensive team (2.25 goals allowed per game). The Wild is the sixth-best defensive team (2.36 goals allowed per game).

Injuries: Wild D Keith Ballard (groin) is questionable. C Mikael Granlund (head), G Darcy Kuemper (upper body), D Clayton Stoner (knee), G Josh Harding (MS), G Niklas Backstrom (abdominal surgery) and LW Jason Zucker (quadriceps) are out. Blues C David Backes (lower body) and LW Vladimir Tarasenko (hand) are out.

MICHAEL RUSSO

© 2014 Star Tribune