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GAMEDAY: Wild vs. Blues

Monday, 04.01.2013 / 12:20 PM

Mike Doyle - Managing Editor

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GAMEDAY: Wild vs. Blues
St. Louis Blues vs. Minnesota Wild

Minnesota Wild (21-11-2: 44 points, 3rd in Western Conference, 1st in Northwest Division) vs. St. Louis Blues (17-14-2: 36 points, 9th in Western Conference, 4th in Central Division)

Tonight’s game against the St. Louis Blues has been cancelled… April Fools’!

All jokes aside, the Wild looks to remain atop the Northwest Division, tonight against St. Louis at Xcel Energy Center. Minnesota hasn’t lost a home game since March 12 and was 6-1-0 in the State of Hockey during the month. The Wild is 13-3-1 at home this season and the club’s four-game home winning streak ties a season-high (2/17-3/10).

Today’s contest marks the first time the Blues have come to Saint Paul this season and second of three meetings between the two teams. The Blues earned a 5-4 overtime victory in the first meeting at St. Louis on Jan. 27.

A big reason behind the Wild’s success has been the play of goaltender Niklas Backstrom. The netminder has won eight-straight starts, eclipsing his team-record, a seven-game streak (March 8-22, 2007). He is first in the NHL with 19 wins. The 35-year-old has started 17 of the Wild’s last 19 games and is 16-3-1 with a 2.18 goals against average and a .922 save percentage in his last 20 games.

On Saturday, the Wild knocked off the defending Stanley Cup Champions, Los Angeles Kings, in a shootout, 4-3. Matt Cullen got the Wild on the board in the first period with his seventh goal of the season. The Wild erased a two-goal deficit with tallies from Charlie Coyle and a third-period marker by Zach Parise. All three of Minnesota’s shooters scored in the shootout (Koivu, Parise and Cullen) and Backstrom stopped one of two to secure the win.

The Blues has had three days off since its 4-2 loss to the Kings on Thursday. The Blues were led with a pair of goals from Vladimir Tarasenko. Jaroslav Halak made 36 saves in the loss. 
Meet The Notes If You're Going
The Blues are battling for a playoff spot, but haven’t helped themselves, currently on a three-game losing streak. St. Louis will have a new face on the blue line, as the team traded for Minnesota-native Jordan Leopold for a 2013 second-round and conditional fifth-round NHL Draft picks from the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. During the first intermission of tonight's contest, the TRIA Shootout will feature youth skaters from Red Wing.

The Wild will wear its RED sweaters tonight.
Who's Hot Gameday Media
Mikko Koivu leads the Wild with 33 points (9-24=33) this season, including 11 (3-8=11) in a season-best, seven-game point streak and a career-best 19 points (6-13=19) in March. He leads Minnesota with 11 multi-point games this year and is plus-11 over his last 10 games.

Fans can guess who's going to be hot with the Wild's HotBox Fantasy Challenge presented by the Pioneer Press for a chance to win great prizes.
 
Wild.com
Game Notes | Transactions | Injury Report | Lighthouse | @mnwildLIVE | @mnwild
WildTV
Yeo Pregame | Koivu Pregame | Parise Pregame | Brodziak Pregame |
PONDcast
Wild vs. STL |
Probably Wild Lineup Between The Pipes
Torrey Mitchell is expected to return to the lineup after missing last game with an illness:

Parise – Koivu – Coyle
Bouchard – Cullen – Setoguchi
Heatley – Brodziak – Clutterbuck
Mitchell – Konopka – Rupp

If the blue line remains unchanged:

Suter – Brodin
Spurgeon – Stoner
  Clark– Gilbert
Backstrom is 6-6-1 with a 2.83 goals against average, a .899 save percentage and one shutout in 13 starts against the Blues.
View From The Press Box
What can you say? When your best players are working like that, it’s a fun thing for a coach.

- Yeo on the play of Mikko Koivu
If the blue line remains the same as last game, Justin Falk and Nate Prosser will be tonight's healthy scratches.

Goaltender Josh Harding (treatment for multiple sclerosis) is on Injured Reserve.
Honorary State of Hockey Resident Worthless Stat
David Backes is a native of Minneapolis, Minn. and played three seasons at Minnesota State Mankato (2003-06). RW Jamie Langenbrunner hails from Cloquet. RW T.J. Oshie played high school hockey in Warroad. Leopold is from Golden Valley and played at the University of Minnesota. The Wild went 11-4-0 in March to tie a franchise-record for wins in a month (Nov. 2011, 11-4-0). It marked the fourth time in franchise history the team totaled at least 10 wins in a single month.
Broadcast Info In Case You Missed It
Wild vs. Blues will be broadcast locally in high definition on FOX Sports North with a start time at 7:00 p.m. The game can be heard on KFAN 100.3 FM or online at Wild.com.

Click here to receive Minnesota Wild broadcast alerts/game day previews each Wild Game day.
 
Wild.com
State of Hobey | Prospects Report | Five Takeaways vs. LAK | Harding Back On Ice |
WildTV
Becoming Wild: Streak | Becoming Wild: Wild About Children | Yeo Postgame - March 30 | Clark Postgame - March 30 | Koivu Postgame - March 30 | Parise Postgame - March 30 | Coyle Postgame - March 30 |
PONDcast
Wild vs LAK - March 30 |
Photo Gallery
Wild vs. LAK - March 30 |

2012-2013 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 11 '13STL 2 at MIN 0R. Polak
Apr 01 '13STL 4 at MIN 1A. McDonald
Jan 27 '13MIN 4 at STL 5 - OTV. Sobotka
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
C. Stewart34151429+23633
D. Perron3491322-13622
A. Steen2661622+3622
K. Shattenkirk3431821+21220
P. Berglund3414620-3642
T. Oshie3071320-51521
D. Backes3431720+14610
A. Pietrangelo3351419-4620
V. Sobotka348816-42512
V. Tarasenko248816+0831
A. McDonald2441115+01011
B. Jackman343811+63500
J. Schwartz31459-6400
J. Leopold25268-51400
W. Redden23235-21100
K. Russell30145+4410
R. Polak34044-42500
R. Reaves29112+06500
M. D'Agostini16112-4200
C. Porter15112+3001
A. Cracknell8022+0200
S. Nichol30101-22501
I. Cole15011-41000
J. Langenbrunner4011+1000
A. Murray1000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
J. Allen128-3-0272882.45.906
J. Halak166-5-1292862.14.899
B. Elliott124-6-1342413.51.859
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
M. Koivu3592433+72003
Z. Parise35151530+91463
R. Suter3532528+12020
M. Cullen3571825+61000
D. Setoguchi35121123+81842
D. Heatley35101020-12631
P. Bouchard3041115+5802
J. Spurgeon265813+6242
K. Brodziak356410-13611
T. Gilbert32369-121610
C. Clutterbuck29358-62500
J. Brodin32268+71010
C. Stoner35088+42200
T. Mitchell32437-41901
C. Coyle24437+61102
M. Granlund19156-3400
J. Zucker14415+5600
M. Rupp31134-16500
J. Falk29022-73600
M. Scandella6101-1400
Z. Konopka29000-29600
N. Prosser14000+4400
D. Powe8000+1900
B. Clark2000-2000
J. Larsson1000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
N. Backstrom2919-8-2687902.40.914
D. Kuemper41-2-081052.22.924
J. Harding41-1-07612.92.885
M. Hackett10-1-05335.08.848
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