The Wild has discovered a winning formula of late, sweeping a two-game road trip to snap a five-game slide, but Sunday could be the last time this version takes to the ice as the team plays its final game before Monday’s trade deadline at home against the Blues.
“As a coach, you never know what’s going to happen,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “But as a player, yeah, it’s gotta affect you because you hear the rumors and nowadays anytime there’s a rumor, an agent seems to phone the player and say, ‘Hey, listen, things are happening here.’ I just hope we understand the better we play, the better we stay together.”
Since the Wild traded forward Charlie Coyle to the Bruins for winger Ryan Donato last Wednesday, the team has responded with two solid efforts and Donato has been part of that improvement. In his first two games, he’s chipped in three assists.
“Ryan’s played really well,” Boudreau said, “and hopefully he can continue it and continue to add that spark to the group.”
Amid this recent run of success, the Wild won’t make any lineup changes to face the Blues for the second time in the past week. St. Louis rolled by the Wild 4-0 last Sunday at Xcel Energy Center.
Although he remains out, veteran Matt Hendricks has healed an upper-body injury suffered Feb.12 but center Victor Rask (lower-body injury) is still on the mend.
“He skated this morning,” Boudreau said of Rask. “But it didn’t go as well as planned, so he’s still a way’s away.”
Jordan Greenway-Eric Staal-Jason Zucker
Zach Parise-Mikael Granlund-Pontus Aberg
Ryan Donato-Joel Eriksson Ek-Luke Kunin
Marcus Foligno-Eric Fehr-J.T. Brown
Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin-Greg Pateryn
Brad Hunt-Anthony Bitetto
6: Straight losses on home ice for the Wild.
8: Points for youngsters Donato, Luke Kunin, Jordan Greenway, and Joel Eriksson Ek the past two games.
2-1: Record for the Wild vs. the Blues this season.
12: Wins for the Blues in their last 13 games.
2-1-1: St. Louis’ record over its past four visits to St. Paul.
About the Blues:
St. Louis continues to surge, tightening its grip on the third seed in the Central Division. After losing Thursday to end their franchise-record 11-game win streak, the Blues bounced back Saturday in a 2-1 shootout victory over the Bruins at home. Overall, since the calendar flipped to 2019, the team is 18-5-1. Winger Vladimir Tarasenko has 23 points in his last 15 games, while center Ryan O’Reilly leads the Blues with 63 points. Their usual linemate Brayden Schenn is out with an upper-body injury.