Skip to content

NHL on NBCSN: Hot Wild, Blues fight for edge in Central Division

Nov 25, 2013, 8:47 AM EST

Alex Steen Getty Images

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.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $2,500 Fantasy Hockey league tonight (Monday). It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $500. Starts at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the link.

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Elias says Devils never approached him about a trade

    Mar 3, 2015, 7:29 PM EST

    Patrik Elias AP

    He says he’s happy to be in New Jersey.

  2. WATCH LIVE: Sabres at Lightning

    Mar 3, 2015, 6:29 PM EST

    Tampa Bay Lightning v Buffalo Sabres Getty Images

    Could we see an upset or a blowout?

  3. Phaneuf, Cuthbert and Lupul threaten lawsuit after tweet goes to air

    Mar 3, 2015, 5:33 PM EST

    Toronto Maple Leafs v Tampa Bay Lightning Getty Images

    Incident occurred during TSN’s trade deadline day coverage.

  4. Giordano: Surgery is ‘my only option at this point’

    Mar 3, 2015, 3:58 PM EST

    giordanogetty Getty Images

    Flames captain was holding out hope for a “tiny chance” he could keep playing.

  5. Yandle ‘can’t find a weak flaw’ in Rangers’ lineup

    Mar 3, 2015, 3:25 PM EST

    Keith Yandle AP

    Making it “pretty cool to be a part of.”

  6. Cole arrives in Detroit, delivers Benn’s apology to Zetterberg

    Mar 3, 2015, 1:32 PM EST

    San Jose Sharks v Dallas Stars Getty Images

    Ex-Dallas winger could open up playing alongside the Detroit captain.

  7. Video: Kessel says the way Toronto media treats Phaneuf is ‘embarrassing’

    Mar 3, 2015, 1:10 PM EST

    Toronto Maple Leafs Players During Practice Getty Images

    “Is it his fault we’re losing? No. Did he build this team? No.”

  8. Not dealt at deadline, Beleskey still working on extension with Ducks

    Mar 3, 2015, 12:28 PM EST

    Anaheim Ducks v Philadelphia Flyers Getty Images

    “Matt’s priority is to remain in Anaheim for many years to come. Hopefully we can make that happen.”

  9. Playoff watch — what the bubble teams need to do

    Mar 3, 2015, 11:56 AM EST

    Ottawa Senators v San Jose Sharks Getty Images

    Sens are making a run in the East, but it’s still the Bruins’ spot to lose.

  10. Stewart to open with Vanek, Koivu in Minnesota

    Mar 3, 2015, 10:55 AM EST

    Buffalo Sabres v New York Rangers Getty Images

    The other new guy, Sean Bergenheim, will play with Nino Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle.

  11. Landeskog, McLeod receive max fines for late game altercation

    Mar 3, 2015, 10:41 AM EST

    Landeskog

    The two squads will play again on Sunday.

  12. Filling the void: Sabres recall Grigorenko

    Mar 3, 2015, 10:35 AM EST

    Mikhail Grigorenko Getty Images

    Plenty of roster spots to be filled in Buffalo after yesterday’s deadline.

  13. Trade deadline leaves Ryder, Havlat in limbo

    Mar 3, 2015, 9:57 AM EST

    Michael Ryder Getty Images

    Is this a sign of what they should expect to face as free agents?

  14. NHL on NBCSN: Lightning kick off homestand against Sabres

    Mar 3, 2015, 8:56 AM EST

    Steven Stamkos Getty Images

    Tampa Bay needs to get hot to challenge the Atlantic Division-leading Montreal Canadiens.

Featured video

Reactions from NHL trade deadline
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. M. Giordano (3122)
  2. F. Andersen (3077)
  3. T. Seguin (2965)
  4. K. Okposo (2879)
  5. H. Lundqvist (2801)
  1. N. Horton (2787)
  2. B. Wheeler (2478)
  3. H. Zetterberg (2407)
  4. T. Hall (2372)
  5. P. Kane (2328)