Nov 25, 2013, 8:47 AM EST
NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign tonight when the St. Louis Blues host the Minnesota Wild at the Scottrade Center at 8:00 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.
In some ways, the Blues and Wild are similar stories. Both franchises are on the upswing and hungry for more after disappointing first round exits in 2013.
Neither team is one of the most popular picks to win the Stanley Cup, but both have a lot of promise. They have young forwards stepping up like Nino Niederreiter in Minnesota or Jaden Schwartz in St. Louis along with elite defensemen capable of leading a playoff team like the Wild’s Ryan Suter and Blues’ Alex Pietrangelo.
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Most importantly though, lately they have been able to do no wrong. Of the combined 23 games these two squads have participated in this month, they have only lost three in regulation. It’s no wonder that St. Louis and Minnesota have two of the best records in the league at 16-3-3 and 15-5-4 respectively.
Of course, there are plenty of differences between these two squads too.
In addition to playing a solid defensive game, the Blues have managed to crush their competition by overwhelming them offensively. That’s due in no small part to Alexander Steen‘s remarkable start with 17 goals and 27 points in 22 games, but even as he starts shows signs of slowing down, St. Louis is far from vulnerable.
The Blues have six players that have recorded at least 16 points this season and 11 with a minimum of 10 points. Forwards David Backes and T.J. Oshie are enjoying the best campaign of their careers and they’re still hot going into tonight’s contest.
They’ll run up against one of the best defenses in the league though. Minnesota has limited its competition to an NHL-best 25.3 shots per game. That’s helped them maintain a team 2.17 GAA, although that statistic comes with an asterisk tonight.
Goaltender Josh Harding has been a big part of the Minnesota Wild’s success, but he suffered a lower-body injury on Saturday. Harding has since gotten good news from an MRI, but the best case is that he serves as the backup tonight, according to NHL.com.
That puts the Wild’s fate in the hands of Niklas Backstrom, who was great in his recent contest against Winnipeg, but has struggled overall this season.
Combine that with the Blues’ home ice advantage and the fact that they’ve won their last five games against Minnesota and it seems fair to give them the edge. But given how good these teams have been, anything is possible.
Nov 23, 2014, 11:00 PM EST
Colorado returns to action on Tuesday night in Arizona.
Nov 23, 2014, 10:15 PM EST
Playing in his 1,000th NHL game tonight.
Nov 23, 2014, 9:15 PM EST
Didn’t get a penalty for bumping into the goaltender.
Nov 23, 2014, 8:58 PM EST
Scores his eighth of the season.
Nov 23, 2014, 8:45 PM EST
Was stretchered off the ice Saturday night.
Nov 23, 2014, 7:45 PM EST
Beauchemin and Perry have already missed games due to the disease this season.
Nov 23, 2014, 7:30 PM EST
Had two goals in two AHL games.
Nov 23, 2014, 7:00 PM EST
Chara placed on long-term injured reserve.
Nov 23, 2014, 6:25 PM EST
Paul Maurice irate with the penalty call.
Nov 23, 2014, 5:20 PM EST
Received a two minute boarding minor.
Nov 23, 2014, 5:03 PM EST
Not much of a margin for error for the banged-up B’s.
Nov 23, 2014, 4:14 PM EST
Seriously, this is pretty harsh.
Nov 23, 2014, 4:01 PM EST
He’s appeared in 737 consecutive games.
Nov 23, 2014, 3:45 PM EST
Sunday’s starting goalies.
Nov 23, 2014, 3:13 PM EST
He set up Tyler Seguin’s breakaway goal.
Nov 23, 2014, 12:51 PM EST
Good luck with that.
Nov 23, 2014, 12:15 PM EST
He shared the evidence and a boatload of hashtags.
Nov 23, 2014, 11:39 AM EST
His twin Henrik will play his 1,031st.
Nov 23, 2014, 10:34 AM EST
The kind of pass you’d don a mullet wig for.
Nov 23, 2014, 9:33 AM EST
The Syracuse Crunch and Utica Comets drew more than 30,000 fans.
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