The St. Louis Blues blew four one-goal leads against the Minnesota Wild on Friday night and lost in a nine-round shootout. One night later, the Blues and Wild faceoff again in the second game of a home-and-home series.
Both the Blues and Wild are playing better after the All-Star Break than they were before. The Wild are 4-1 since the break and have moved to within one point of the eighth spot. The Blues are 2-0-2 and have gained six of a possible eight points, but still remain seven points out of a playoff spot.
The Blues have continued to get healthier since the break as well, Andy McDonald and Carlo Colaiacovo have both returned in the last week and have amplified the Blues offensive attack.
McDonald has four points in the four games back and had a goal and an assist in last night’s game. Colaiacovo returned to the lineup last night and recorded an assist on the Blues' first goal of the evening.
David Backes has continued his All-Star-caliber play with goals in three straight, including two in the loss. Brad Boyes has also kept adding to assists totals with two more last night to bring his total to 25 on the season.
The Wild are led by Cal Clutterbuck, whose two goals last night propelled him into a tie for the team lead in goals, and Mikko Koivu, who leads the team with 33 assists.
Jose Theodore started in goal for Minnesota and gained the victory, but will likely sit out tonight in favor of Niklas Backstrom. Backstrom is 5-5-0 against the Blues in his career, but four of those losses came on the road.
Today is Hockey Day in Minnesota, so the Excel Energy Center will be in full-rocking mode tonight so the Blues will need to come out with a high intensity game to take the crowd out of it early.
The Blues scored early in the first and third periods, but they need to finish games in order to gain the points and the experience to make it to the playoffs again. A loss tonight will continue the already swirling rumors of a sell-off at the deadline.
Game time is 8 p.m. CT.