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Preview: Minnesota at St. Louis
When: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, October 31, 2015
Where: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri
After eliminating St. Louis in the first round of the playoffs, the Minnesota Wild look to continue their run of good fortune against the Blues on Saturday when the Central Division rivals meet at Scottrade Center. Zach Parise tallied twice to close out the playoff series in the spring and also scored in Minnesota’s 3-2 victory over St. Louis on Oct. 10 to give him eight goals and five assists in the last 14 meetings.
Charlie Coyle netted a pair of goals in the first encounter this season and tallied in each of his last two as the Wild skated to a 5-4 triumph over Chicago on Friday for their fourth win in five outings. St. Louis has also been ascending in the ultra-competitive Central, as it has won its second straight contest and improved to 6-1-1 in its last eight with a 2-1 victory over reeling Anaheim on Thursday. Vladimir Tarasenko, who scored versus the Ducks, netted six six goals in the playoff series against the Wild and joined Alex Steen with a goal and an assist in the first meeting between the clubs earlier in the month. Tarasenko was nursing a bit of limp on Friday, but coach Ken Hitchcock said the Russian is “ready to go” versus Minnesota.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN North (Minnesota), FSN Midwest (St. Louis)
ABOUT THE WILD (7-2-1): Nino Niederreiter scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period on Friday for his fifth point (three goals, two assists) in his last six contests. Captain Mikko Koivu set up three goals versus the Blackhawks to extend his point streak to eight games, during which he has tallied three times and had seven assists. Defenseman Ryan Suter set up a pair of goals in the first meeting with St. Louis and has two tallies and one assist in his last two games.
ABOUT THE BLUES (7-2-1): After netting the game-winning goal on Thursday, defenseman Colton Parayko (undisclosed) is expected to be a game-time decision versus Minnesota. “We’ll see where he’s at (on Saturday),” Hitchcock said of the 23-year-old who leads all blue-liners in goals with four. “… He just fell on the ice. We’ll see where he’s at (on Saturday).” Jake Allen has yielded one goal on 49 shots in the past two games and has been confirmed to make his third straight start.
1. St. Louis has failed on its last 16 power-play opportunities spanning the last four games.
2. Minnesota has scored with the man advantage in each of its last three contests.
3. Blues captain David Backes has been held off the scoresheet in four straight games and has just two assists this season.
PREDICTION: Blues 2, Wild 1