Good evening from St. Louis, where I could probably just stay.

For the first time in history, the Wild and St. Louis Blues will face off in the playoffs and the Wild stays in this side of the bracket rather than crossing over. That means the Wild would face the winner of the Chicago-Nashville series in the second round if Minnesota advances.

The Blues have been bounced in the first round in two of the past three years despite home-ice each time.

The series will start Thursday. Here is the schedule:

The NHL released the first-round playoff schedule early Sunday morning:

 Game 1 – Thursday at St. Louis, 8:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

Game 2 – Saturday at St. Louis,  2 p.m.(Ch. 11)

Game 3 – April 20 at the X, 7 p.m. (CNBC)

Game 4 – April 22 at the X, 8:30 p.m.(NBCSN)

Game 5 – April 24,  at St. Louis, TBD (if necessary)

Game 6 – April 26, at the X, TBD (if necessary)

Game 7 –  April 29, at St. Louis, TBD (if necessary)

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No. 2 St. Louis Blues vs. No. 7 Minnesota Wild

The Blues are one of the biggest, deepest, most physical teams in the NHL.

Led by former Minnesota State standout David Backes and budding star Vladimir Tarasenko, the Blues can outhit you or outskill you. They’re three lines deep offensively and have one of the best blue lines in the NHL, led by Alex Pietrangelo, Kevin Shattenkirk and Jay Bouwmeester.

Where most consider them exposable is in goal with young Jake Allen or veteran Brian Elliott.

Records: 51-24-7; 46-28-8

Home: 27-12-2; 22-13-6

Away: 24-12-5; 24-15-2

*Season-series: 2-2; 2-1-1

Goals For: 239 (2.91, 5th in NHL); 227 (2.77, 13th)

Goals Against per game: 2.40 (5th); 2.42 (6th)

Goal differential: +47 (3rd); +30 (7th)

Shots per game: 30.9 (11th); 30.8 (T-12th)

Shots Against per game: 27.2 (2nd); 27.6 (4th)

Power play: 22.3 (4th); 15.8 (28th)

Penalty kill: 83.7 (8th); 86.3 (1st)

5-on-5 for: 160 (7th); 168 (5th)

5-on-5 against: 137 (10th); 145 (16th)

* Wild outscored the Blues 13-10

Leaders:

Goals: Blues – Vladimir Tarasenko 37, Jaden Schwartz 28, David Backes 26, Alex Steen 24; Wild -- Zach Parise 33, Nino Niederreiter 24, Thomas Vanek and Jason Zucker 21.

Assists: Blues – Steen 40, Alex Pietrangelo 39; Wild – Jason Pominville and Ryan Suter 36, Mikko Koivu 31.

Points: Blues – Tarasenko 73, Steen 64, Schwartz 63; Wild – Parise 62, Pominville 54, Vanek 52.

Power-play goals: Blues – Backes 10; Wild – Parise 11.

Penalty minutes: Blues – Ryan Reaves 116, Backes 104; Wild – Marco Scandella 56, Ryan Carter 55.

Time on ice: Blues Pietrangelo 25:24; Wild – Suter 29:03.

Starting goalies:

Blues: Jake Allen 22-7-4, 2.28 goals-against average, .913 save percentage, 4 shutouts.

Wild: Devan Dubnyk 36-14-4, 2.07 goals-against average, .929 save percentage, 6 shutouts.

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Postgame: Wild awaits first-round opponent, Anaheim or St. Louis

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Russo: Wild, Blues projected lineups for Thursday's Game 1