If what happened last Saturday wasn’t enough of a reminder of what the Wild needs to do to try to keep pace with the Blues, a look at St. Louis’ recent games is further evidence.
The Blues fell behind in each of their last two losses, trailing the Ducks 3-0 and then tripping into a two-goal hole against the Kings. St. Louis was unable to rally in each game, proving just how difficult it can be to play catch-up – a lesson the Wild certainly learned a week ago when it stumbled in the first period en route to a 3-0 deficit to the Blues before an eventual 6-3 loss.
“I think if we can get after them early, it’ll be beneficial,” center Eric Staal said. “Obviously, we want to get a lead and kind of extend it I think it’s beneficial for us to try to play in the offensive zone, get through the neutral zone with smart decisions and then creating havoc down in their end. If we do that, hopefully wear them down as the game wears on. The biggest thing is trying to get that lead and continue it from there.”
The Wild was much better defensively in its last game, a 4-2 win over the Golden Knights, but it sounds like the team could switch up its look against the Blues with the addition of Nate Prosser, who was claimed off waivers from the Blues Thursday.
"To play St. Louis my first game, it's really – you can't even write a book on this," Prosser said. "It’s just really bizarre. I have old teammates just texting me just, 'LOL.' That's their only text. You can't make this stuff up. It's kind of a dream setting, and I'm excited for tonight and I'll be ready to go."
Mikael Granlund -Mikko Koivu-Jason Zucker
Nino Niederreiter-Eric Staal-Marcus Foligno
Daniel Winnik-Charlie Coyle-Chris Stewart
Tyler Ennis-Matt Cullen-Zack Mitchell
Ryan Suter- Matt Dumba
Jonas Brodin-Ryan Murphy
Mike Reilly-Nate Prosser
6-1-1: Goalie Devan Dubnyk’s record in his last eight games.
6-2: The Blues’ record against the Wild in their last eight matchups.
4: Wins by St. Louis in the second game of a back-to-back set this season.
3: Goals-per-game by the Blues on the road.
94.3: The Wild’s efficiency on the penalty kill at home, which ranks second in the NHL.
About the Blues:
After dropping their last two games since facing the Wild last Saturday, the Blues have fallen to second in the Central Division. They lost 3-2 to the Ducks on Wednesday before getting clipped 4-1 to the Kings Friday. A return to the Central Division could be just the boost the team needs; it’s 4-1 against division rivals. Center Brayden Schenn was named the third star of the month for November. He had 19 points in the month – the highest production of any month in his career – and boasted four games with three or more points.