While the Wild has stalled in a 1-4-3 rut, only the Blues and Stars have passed it in the standings since most of the teams chasing it have also struggled.
The Wild hasn’t been able to capitalize on this break, but it’ll get another chance to Sunday when it faces the Blues at Xcel Energy Center after the Canucks lost Saturday night to keep the Wild in the second wild card spot in the Western Conference.
“Right now, we’re getting bounces, that’s for sure,” winger Marcus Foligno said. “It seems like when we lose, big teams below us lose or a team ahead of us has lost. It’s unfortunate we didn’t jump on those opportunities. But if we can pull ourselves together here and wake up out of this slump, we’ll be fine.”
This isn’t the same Blues squad the Wild encountered in November when it shrugged them off for a pair of wins.
St. Louis has won nine in a row, tops in the NHL right now, and has shut out its last two opponents – climbing in a playoff position after ranking near the bottom of the conference.
“They’re definitely a team that’s kind of gelling right now at the right time, and they’re always a good team on paper,” Foligno said. “They have a lot of guys that obviously signed in the offseason that made that team look really good. Maybe it just took them a little while to gel.”
It’s unclear who will oppose the Blues in the Wild’s net, as coach Bruce Boudreau didn’t announce which goalie would play Saturday after the team’s practice. The Wild didn’t hold a morning skate Sunday with an afternoon puck drop.
Jason Zucker-Eric Staal-Charlie Coyle
Zach Parise-Mikael Granlund-Luke Kunin
Jordan Greenway-Joel Eriksson Ek-Marcus Foligno
Kyle Rau-Eric Fehr-Brad Hunt
Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin-Greg Pateryn
Nick Seeler-Anthony Bitetto
2: Wins for the Wild so far this season vs. the Blues.
7-2: Record for the Wild in afternoon games.
9-5-2: How the Wild has fared against the Central Division.
3: Assists for rookie Jordan Greenway vs. St. Louis this season.
12: Power-play goals by Wild defensemen, tops in the NHL.
About the Blues:
St. Louis is the hottest team in the NHL amid its nine-game win streak. This run has lifted the team to the third seed in the Central Division with 65 points. Winger Vladimir Tarasenko is on a tear of late, carrying an 11-game point streak into the game. He has 19 points, including 10 goals, during that span. His line with forwards Brayden Schenn and Ryan O’Reilly has been especially potent; during the past nine games, the three have combined for 37 points.