After getting overwhelmed by the Stars 6-1 Saturday in Dallas, the Wild resumes play Tuesday in St. Louis against the Blues with a revamped lineup.
Matt Cullen has been promoted to the third line and will center wingers Zach Parise and Charlie Coyle, making Chris Stewart a healthy scratch for the fourth time in the last seven games. And defenseman Gustav Olofsson will draw back in on the blue line, taking Mike Reilly’s spot on the third pairing next to Nate Prosser.
“We’ll put the best lineup in that we think will win the game,” coach Bruce Boudreau said.
Cullen was idle for Saturday’s game and by bumping him up the depth chart, Boudreau hopes to capitalize on Cullen’s experience.
“He’s got a good offensive mind,” Boudreau said.
The importance of this matchup seemed to grow after the Stars won Monday, upping its lead over the Wild to five points – a cushion that was at just one point before the two teams squared off Saturday.
But after this road test against the Blues, the Wild returns home for a five-game homestand – a glorious opportunity to bank points.
“We need to make sure we bring our game tonight and get this win, and then we can start looking forward to those games at home,” winger Jason Zucker said, “and try to put a dent in our schedule a little bit from there.”
Jason Zucker-Mikko Koivu-Mikael Granlund
Nino Niederreiter-Eric Staal-Tyler Ennis
Zach Parise-Matt Cullen-Charlie Coyle
Marcus Foligno-Joel Eriksson Ek-Daniel Winnik
Ryan Suter- Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin-Matt Dumba
Gustav Olofsson-Nate Prosser
123: Points by Wild defensemen.
8-for-23: The Wild’s performance on the power play since Jan. 13.
3: Points for defenseman Matt Dumba in two games against the Blues this season.
4: Straight wins for the Blues over the Wild at Scottrade Center.
7-4-1: The Blues’ record against the Central Division.
About the Blues:
The Blues are clinging to the third seed in the Central Division, just one point ahead of the Stars. St. Louis has won four of its last five and three straight on home ice. The team has been especially dominant when scoring first, as it’s 25-4-1 in those games. Center Brayden Schenn leads St. Louis in points (51) and is tied for the team lead in goals (21) with winger Vladimir Tarasenko. Goalie Carter Hutton has won his last four starts, giving up just two goals in those games.