The Minnesota Wild will be looking for some payback for a lopsided defeat from a week ago when they host former coach Mike Yeo and the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night. The Wild were thrashed in St. Louis 6-3 last Saturday and were ousted by the Blues in a first-round playoff series last season, losing all three games at Xcel Energy Center.
Minnesota was shredded for 13 goals in back-to-back losses to St. Louis and Winnipeg before rebounding for a 4-2 victory over expansion Vegas on Thursday night. “We understand that we’re not going to win a lot of 6-5 games, so we have to win the 4-2, the 3-1, the 2-1 kind of games,” coach Bruce Boudreau said after the Wild improved to 4-0-1 in their last five home games. The Blues have lost five of nine since their 13-3-1 start to the season and dropped three of four to close out a 2-3-0 homestand. Friday’s 4-1 setback to Los Angeles dropped St. Louis out of first place in the Central Division and kicked off a stretch of 13 games in 23 days.
TV: 6 p.m. ET, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), FSN North (Minnesota)
ABOUT THE BLUES (17-8-1): One bright spot Friday was the play of forward Patrik Berglund, who notched his first goal and recorded four shots on net in his second game since returning from offseason surgery. Yeo juggled his lines, elevating Dmitrij Jaskin to the No. 2 unit with Paul Stastny and Alexander Steen, moving Jay Bouwmeester to right defense and inserting fellow blue-liner Carl Gunnarsson back in the lineup. Backup Carter Hutton earned the start Friday before giving way to starting netminder Jake Allen in the third.
ABOUT THE WILD (12-10-3): Minnesota claimed defenseman Nate Prosser off waivers from St. Louis on Thursday, but he may not get to face his former teammates, mainly because Boudreau was pleased with the play of fellow blue-liners Ryan Murphy and Mike Reilly against Vegas. Prosser was brought in as insurance following an injury to defenseman Jared Spurgeon, who is expected to miss two weeks with a groin strain that sidelined him the past two games. Eric Staal scored twice Thursday and has five goals and 11 points in nine games.
1. Wild G Devan Dubynk is 6-13-2 with a 3.36 goals-against average versus St. Louis — his most losses against any opponent.
2. Blues F Jaden Schwartz scored twice in last week’s win over Minnesota and has nine goals and 16 points in 19 games versus the Wild.
3. Minnesota killed off all three short-handed situations Thursday after allowing five power-play goals in the past two games.
PREDICTION: Wild 4, Blues 3