Nov 25, 2013, 8:47 AM EDT
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.
Mar 30, 2015, 8:28 PM EDT
He’s a trooper.
Mar 30, 2015, 8:02 PM EDT
A new wrinkle to the rivalry.
Mar 30, 2015, 7:35 PM EDT
He shakes off Saturday’s scary crash.
Mar 30, 2015, 7:03 PM EDT
Could he be ahead of schedule?
Mar 30, 2015, 6:30 PM EDT
Mar 30, 2015, 5:33 PM EDT
L.A.’s first time back in Chicago since Game 7 of last year’s Western Conference Final.
Mar 30, 2015, 4:29 PM EDT
No more James Wisniewski.
Mar 30, 2015, 3:56 PM EDT
Could be helpful in attracting and retaining free agents.
Mar 30, 2015, 3:46 PM EDT
The drive began by focusing on individuals for season ticket packages.
Mar 30, 2015, 3:06 PM EDT
“I think it’s going to come right down to the morning skate.”
Mar 30, 2015, 2:15 PM EDT
News and notes from around the crease…
Mar 30, 2015, 1:59 PM EDT
Flyers d-man has a lower-body injury.
Mar 30, 2015, 1:58 PM EDT
“A win tonight would be good for our team, both physically and mentally.”
Mar 30, 2015, 1:42 PM EDT
Tough journey through St. Louis, Nashville, Chicago and Winnipeg.
Mar 30, 2015, 1:24 PM EDT
Incident occurred prior to a promotion game in the Swedish league.
Mar 30, 2015, 12:59 PM EDT
And so the dance begins…
Mar 30, 2015, 12:50 PM EDT
Alex Steen is out, however.
Mar 30, 2015, 12:15 PM EDT
Has the Wild’s savior goalie done enough to make him a Vezina Trophy finalist?
Mar 30, 2015, 11:37 AM EDT
Joins Braydon Coburn and Andrej Sustr on the shelf.
Mar 30, 2015, 11:23 AM EDT
Bruins in a much better spot after a successful weekend. (Not so for the Sens.)
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- Tough times in Tampa: Garrison out 3-4 weeks after ‘pretty dirty’ Abdelkader hit 22
- Playoff watch — what the bubble teams need to do 29
- NHL on NBCSN: Stakes high for Kings, ‘Hawks tonight 21
- Blackhawks’ Sharp: ‘We knew we had to get two points’ 12
- Video: Brian Engblom takes a puck to the head 13
- Flames jump back into third in Pacific, beat Preds 6
- Letang concussed, Penguins will dress five defensemen 18
- NHL on NBCSN: Sharks desperate for wins, Penguins seek definitive end to slump 7