NHL: Wild shoot for history in battle vs. Blues
The Minnesota Wild will try to set a franchise record for consecutive games with a point when they visit the St. Louis Blues Wednesday.
The Wild carry a 13-game point streak (10-0-3) into this game at Enterprise Center. They tied the team mark for longest point streak with their 5-4 overtime loss in Arizona Sunday.
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“We’re finding ways to get points, and that’s huge,” Wild forward Mason Shaw said after the game. “Obviously, we wanted to finish with two (points) here tonight, but (the) feeling of this locker room is really good. We’ve got a good thing going, and we’re not going to stop any time soon.”
The overtime loss to the Coyotes was the first time Minnesota allowed more than three goals during the streak. Both Filip Gustavsson (17-8-5, 2.01 goals-against average) and Marc-Andre Fleury (21-13-3, 2.77) have been playing well in goal.
But Gustavsson had his worst outing of the year against Arizona by allowing five goals on 23 shots.
“We were loose. We’ve got to dial it back in a little bit,” Wild coach Dean Evason said. “Regardless of how well we think we played defensively, we still gave up too many goals. It’s awesome that we’re scoring some goals, but we got to keep it out of the net.”
The Wild have remained on the heels of the Central Division-leading Dallas Stars despite losing star forward Kirill Kaprizov for three to four weeks with a lower-body injury. Mats Zuccarello has helped pick up the slack with two goals and two assists in his last three games.
Minnesota also lost forward Marcus Foligno to a lower-body injury during the Arizona game, and shutdown defender Jonas Brodin has been on injured reserve with a lower-body injury.
The retooling Blues snapped a 1-6-2 downturn to defeat the San Jose Sharks and Columbus Blue Jackets and lose to the Vegas Golden Knights in their last three games.
The Blues have integrated newly acquired wingers Jakub Vrana and Kasperi Kapanen and moved past the departure of forwards Ryan O’Reilly, Vladimir Tarasenko and Ivan Barbashev before the NHL trade deadline.
“We’re in every game. We’re right there,” Blues coach Craig Berube said. “Again, we just gotta keep building and keep trying to get better. Just keep trying to improve. I like the way a lot of guys are playing right now.”
Jordan Kyrou has four goals and three assists in his last four games while Pavel Buchnevich has a nine-game point streak with four goals and 11 assists during that span.
“The passion’s back,” Blues defenseman Torey Krug told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “The energy’s there. Guys are competing for spots, and they’re not taking it for granted playing in the NHL. These are all things we talked about before.
“It’s starting to show up in our game, and obviously we didn’t get the result (against Vegas). We’ve won a few games lately and we’ve just got to keep rolling with it.”
The Wild and Blues split their first two games this season with each team winning on the road. Minnesota won 5-2 on Dec. 31, with Ryan Hartman scoring twice, and St. Louis prevailed 3-0 on Jan. 8 with Thomas Greiss making 35 saves to earn the shutout.
–Field Level Media
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