The Wild is back home after clinching a playoff berth last weekend in San Jose, and the team begins a seven-game homestand at Xcel Energy Center Wednesday night with three straight against the Blues.
These two teams will face off five times the rest of the regular season, and so far St. Louis has had the upper hand – delivering the Wild its most lopsided loss in franchise history (9-1) and then rallying in overtime to complete a two-game sweep at home earlier this month.
The Wild did shut out the Blues in the first matchup this season, a tremendous effort by goaltender Cam Talbot, who will get the start Wednesday after backing up Kaapo Kahkonen Saturday when the Wild upended the Sharks 6-3 to push its win streak to a season-high seven games and lock up a playoff berth.
Talbot was named the NHL's second star of the week on Monday after going 3-0 last week with a 1.67 goals-against average and .953 save percentage. He's 6-0-1 in his last seven starts and is 10-1 with a 1.86 goals-against average and .935 save percentage with two shutouts in 12 starts at Xcel Energy Center.
"You prepare obviously for a team that works their butt off," coach Dean Evason said. "They get pucks to the net. They crash the net. Real good structure. Real good defensively. Good in all areas. Clearly, we've seen their best. We have to play our best in order to compete with them here tonight."
Before the game, the Wild announced it assigned goaltender Hunter Jones to the taxi squad. Andrew Hammond is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
Jordan Greenway-Joel Eriksson Ek-Marcus Foligno
Kirill Kaprizov-Victor Rask-Mats Zuccarello
Kevin Fiala-Ryan Hartman-Marcus Johansson
Zach Parise-Nico Sturm-Nick Bonino
Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin-Matt Dumba
Carson Soucy-Ian Cole
299: Career points for captain Jared Spurgeon.
4: Goals or more scored by the Wild in six of its last seven victories.
17-4: Record for the Wild at home this season.
5-3: Showing by the Wild in the first game of a back-to-back.
17: Power play goals for the Wild over the past 13 games.
About the Blues:
St. Louis is battling for the final playoff berth in the West Division and currently occupies fourth with 48 points, one ahead of Arizona. The Blues have won two in a row to snap a three-game losing streak. Both those wins came at home; St. Louis has dropped its past five road games. Captain Ryan O'Reilly has three goals and three assists over his last two games. St. Louis is 6-1-1 in its last eight games vs. the Wild.