Minnesota Wild vs St. Louis Blues Preview


With 11 games left in the regular season, the Minnesota Wild must find ways to gain as many points as possible to secure their third Stanley Cup Playoff spot in a row.

Sitting just one point above the Winnipeg Jets for the top wild card spot and three points above the Los Angeles Kings who are three points behind the Wild (who also have a game at hand), the Wild can’t afford to give away the remaining 22 points left in the season.

Thursday night’s loss to the Washington Capitals couldn’t have come at a worse time as the Wild squandered two points while almost every other team chasing the Wild won and gained two points. Currently, the Wild hold an 87.841 percent chance of making the post-season. The St. Louis Blues are in the middle of a 6-game road trip in which they shutout the Calgary Flames and the Dallas Stars, they lost in shootouts to the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.

Watch Mike Yeo’s presser from yesterday’s practice here:

As reported by Michael Russo of the Star Tribune, Marco Scandella will make his return to the lineup tonight. Scandella’s return will result in Christian Folin to wear a suit instead of a uniform, even though he was one of the two goal scorers in their last game. Russo also reported that, even though the Wild have been out skated as of late, Mike Yeo will not bring Jordan Schroeder back to the lineup and will instead keep the physical, yet struggling, Sean Bergenheim who only played 9 shifts in their loss to the Capitals.

I will tweet out the lineups when I see them come in. I am not sure where Yeo will place Scandella. Typically, we see him lineup next to Jared Spurgeon, however, last game we saw Spurgeon lineup with Ryan Suter. With the emergence of Matt Dumba, it will be difficult to refine the defensive pairings.

Expect the offensive lineups to remain the same:

Parise – Granlund – Pominville

Stewart – Koivu – Niederreiter

Vanek – Coyle – Fontaine

Bergenheim – Haula – Brodziak

Here are my three bold predictions for tonight’s game.

Dumba’s Cannon: Look for the Wild to continue to set up Matt Dumba with juicy one-timers on the blue-line. Every time Dumba fires a shot, you hold your breathe a little bit because you have no idea where the puck will end up. Look for Dumba to get increased power-play time, and look for him to score yet another goal tonight.

Parise: Zach Parise has been working hard as always, but can’t get the puck in the net as regularly as he is used to. Look for Zach to get the Wild’s first goal tonight as well as a third-period goal that will put the game away.

Dubnyk: We have seen Devan Dubnyk be human lately giving up goals that we were used to see him save. Look for Dubnyk to settle back in to his game and make some amazing stops tonight. I am not predicting a shutout, but I predict that he will keep the Wild in the game and allow only one goal, or 0.

Wild 4, St. Louis 1