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Reply To: NHL • Saturday Service Plays • 2/6/16

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Preview: Minnesota at St. Louis

When: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, February 6, 2016
Where: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri

A pair of Central Division rivals who are mired in deep offensive funks will square off Saturday when the St. Louis Blues host the reeling Minnesota Wild. The Blues have managed to produce only five goals in their last five games while the Wild, losers of four in a row, have scored only 16 tallies during a miserable 1-8-1 stretch.

St. Louis opened a three-game homestand with a 3-1 loss to San Jose on Thursday, giving it three goals during a 1-2-1 stretch. “To win in the league you have to spend as much time in the offensive zone as you can,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “That’s got to be our focus.” The focus for the Wild is finding a way to win after blowing a two-goal lead in a 4-2 loss at the New York Rangers on Thursday. “We’re a very fragile team,” defenseman Ryan Suter said after Minnesota fell to 3-9-3 in 2016.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, NHL.TV, FSN North, FSN Wisconsin (Wild), FSN Midwest (Blues)

ABOUT THE WILD (23-19-9): Not only is the offense slumping, but goaltender Devan Dubnyk has surrendered eight goals in back-to-back losses to the Islanders and Rangers to remain winless since Jan. 9. “We’re hoping to win and afraid of losing,” Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said. “The result is not good. We have to go out and win a game. We’re going to St. Louis and I’m pretty sure they’re not going to give us a gift.” One bright spot has been the power play, which has produced a goal in four of the past five games after coming up empty in 11 contests.

ABOUT THE BLUES (29-17-8): Forward Jaden Schwartz, who posted career highs with 28 goals and 63 points last season, continues to practice with the team but will miss his 48th consecutive game due to a fractured ankle. “He did some quick feet drills today, looks good,” Hitchcock said after Friday’s practice. “He’s got to come and tell us now.” Leading scorer Vladimir Tarasenko, who scored 24 goals in his first 41 games this season, has tallied only once in the last 11 contests and has failed to find the scoresheet in the past five contests.


1. Blues G Brian Elliott is 7-2-0 with a pair of shutouts versus Minnesota.

2. Wild F Zach Parise has one goal and one point in his last nine games, but he has scored 10 times in 18 contests versus St. Louis.

3. D Kevin Shattenkirk needs one point to reach 200 with the Blues.

PREDICTION: Blues 4, Wild 2