A look at the Wild vs. St. Louis Blues series and here's today's story looking more in depth at the Blues and the challenge they present.
Here are the lines at today's Wild practice:
Jason Zucker-Mikko Koivu-Chris Stewart
Zach Parise-Mikael Granlund-Jason Pominville
Thomas Vanek-Charlie Coyle-Nino Niederreiter
Matt Cooke-Kyle Brodziak-Justin Fontaine
Ryan Suter-Jonas Brodin
Marco Scandella-Jared Spurgeon
Jordan Leopold-Matt Dumba
Extra forwards: Sean Bergenheim, Ryan Carter, Erik Haula, Jordan Schroeder.
Extra defensemen: Christian Folin, Nate Prosser.
Extra goalie: Niklas Backstrom.
Injuries: D Keith Ballard (concussion), out.
Here are the Blues lines from today's practice:
Jaden Schwartz-Paul Stastny-T.J. Oshie
Alex Steen-Jori Lehtera-Vladimir Tarasenko
Dmitrij Jaskin-David Backes-Patrik Berglund
Steve Ott-Marcel Goc-Ryan Reaves
Carl Gunnarsson-Alex Pietrangelo
Jay Bouwmeester-Zbynek Michalek
Barret Jackman-Kevin Shattenkirk
Extra forwards: Olli Jokinen, Chris Porter, Ty Rattie.
Extra defensemen: Robert Bortuzzo, Chris Butler.
The Wild and Blues have clashed three times since March 14 and on Thursday open a playoff series against each other for the first time in history.
Wild’s all-time record vs. Blues: 25-19-12 (16-7-6 at Xcel Energy Center, 9-12-6 at Scottrade Center).
Wild’s record this season vs. Blues: 2-1-1, Wild outscored Blues 13-10.
Playoff appearances: Wild’s 6th in 14 years (3 in a row, 0 championships); Blues’ 39th in 47 seasons (0 championships).
Nov. 29 at Minnesota -- Blues 3, Wild 2 (shootout): Vladimir Tarasenko scored the game’s first goal, but Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu scored in the second before David Backes forced overtime with 5:33 left despite the Wild outshooting the Blues 27-12 through two periods. Tarasenko scored the lone shootout goal past Niklas Backstrom.
March 14 at St. Louis -- Wild 3, Blues 1: In a game the Wild was outshot 32-10 through two periods and 42-19 for the game, Devan Dubnyk made a season-high 41 saves to steal a win. He entered the game 0-7 in his career against the Blues with a 4.72 goals-against average and .843 save percentage. Thomas Vanek scored 46 seconds after Vanek in the second period before Nino Niederreiter and Kyle Brodziak scored 17 seconds apart in the third.
March 21 at Minnesota -- Wild 6, Blues 3: Six different players scored goals for the Wild with former Blue Chris Stewart, Vanek, Parise and Jonas Brodin building a 4-0 lead as Brian Elliott was chased from net. The Blues made it a game with Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz cutting the deficit in half, but Justin Fontaine and Koivu stopped the bleeding with goals.
April 11 at St. Louis -- Blues 4, Wild 2: In each team’s regular-season finale, the Wild rested Koivu, Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon and the Blues rested Backes, T.J. Oshie, Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk. Tarasenko continued his outstanding season against the Wild with a goal and assist, Alex Steen had two assists and Jori Lehtera scored twice. Marco Scandella and Parise scored for the Wild.
Wild’s power play in 4 games: 3 for 15 (20 percent); Blues power play in 4 games: 3 for 10 (30 percent).
Wild’s penalty kill in 4 games: 7 for 10 (70 percent); Blues penalty kill in 4 games: 12 for 15 (80 percent).