The Wild has never lost three games in a row this season, a trend that'll be put to the test Saturday night when the team takes on the Blues at Xcel Energy Center.
St. Louis has won back-to-back games against the Wild, rallying 4-3 on Wednesday before prevailing 5-4 in overtime on Thursday. The Wild is still seeking its first win since the team locked up a playoff berth last Saturday.
"They've been through the battle," coach Dean Evason said of the Blues. "They've been where we all want to be. We think that we've made strides, but clearly the last two hockey games that they've come out on the good side because of possibly their experience. But that's what we're building toward."
Kaapo Kahkonen will get the start in net, his first appearance since he backstopped the Wild to a playoff-clinching win a week ago in San Jose. The rest of the lineup will stay the same for the Wild; this will be the fifth straight game Nick Bjugstad has been a healthy scratch since getting cleared to return from an upper-body injury.
"We had a good chat again," Evason said. "He's itching to get back in there. We will see going forward. But we feel very comfortable if we were to make a switch at some point that he'll be ready."
Center Victor Rask will remain alongside winger Kevin Fiala, an in-game change Evason made Thursday that helped the Wild close the gap in the third period. Rask and Fiala each set each other up for goals.
"It just seemed natural to make that move," Evason said. "They've played together before, so it felt comfortable to us and fortunately it worked out and we got ourselves to overtime."
Jordan Greenway-Joel Eriksson Ek-Marcus Foligno
Kirill Kaprizov- Ryan Hartman-Mats Zuccarello
Kevin Fiala-Victor Rask-Marcus Johansson
Zach Parise-Nico Sturm-Nick Bonino
Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin-Matt Dumba
Carson Soucy-Ian Cole
4: Goals for center Joel Eriksson Ek on a career-high seven-game point streak.
7: Goals for rookie Kirill Kaprizov over the last seven games.
9: Points for winger Kevin Fiala in his past six games.
3: Assists for winger Jordan Greenway in the last three games.
198: Career points for center Victor Rask.
About the Blues:
St. Louis has won four in a row, gaining a three-point cushion in the West Division for the fourth and final playoff spot. The Blues are 4-1 against the Wild this season, and two of those victories have come at Xcel Energy Center. In their last 10 games vs. the Wild, the Blues are 8-1-1. Captain Ryan O'Reilly has eight points over his last four games. St. Louis' power play has scored in nine consecutive games.