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GAMEDAY: Wild vs. St. Louis

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 3:50 AM

Ben Wolfson - Special to Wild.com

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GAMEDAY: Wild vs. St. Louis
St. Louis Blues vs. Minnesota Wild
Minnesota Wild (22-15-2: 46 points, T-6th in Western Conference, 2nd in Northwest Division) vs. St. Louis Blues  (22-14-2: 46 points, T-6th in Western Conference, 2nd in Central Division)
The Wild is in its second of a three-game home stand at Xcel Energy Center and faces the surging St. Louis Blues. The teams are deadlocked in points in the race down the home stretch of the regular season. With points at a premium in the Wild's final nine games, this one sure has the feel of a must-win for both teams. Minnesota has faced St. Louis twice previously this season, losing both matches. The Blues won a 5-4 overtime game on Jan. 27 at Scottrade Center and claimed a 4-1 victory at Xcel Energy Center on April 1. Zach Parise leads Minnesota with three (2-1=3) against the Blues.

The Wild had its first off-day practice at home in weeks on Wednesday and was boosted by the return of goalie Josh Harding. The netminder was on the ice yesterday for a full Wild practice, his first time skating with the team since he was put on Injured Reserve on Feb. 12., as he receives treatment for multiple sclerosis. Harding had skated during optional skates, but this was the first time he was in net facing his teammates. He was on the ice again today for morning skate, but there is no timetable for his return or when he will come off Injured Reserve.

Tom Gilbert is expected to return to the blue line after being scratched for two games. The Bloomington native has 9 points (3-6=9) in 34 games this season. 

Minnesota will try to regroup after losing the first game of this homestand. Tuesday, the Wild was edged by the Blackhawks 1-0, after Chicago's Marian Hossa scored the game's lone goal in the second period. Goaltender Niklas Backstrom stopped 30-of-31 shots in the loss, while D Ryan Suter posted a 32:23 TOI — the second-highest ice time of his career. Home ice has been kind to the Wild, posting a 13-5-1 record in Saint Paul this year. The Wild has won four of its last six at Xcel Energy Center.

The Blues shutout the Nashville Predators, 1-0, on Tuesday after goaltender Brian Elliott stopped all 15 shots he faced. Elliot made it his second-straight shutout, while the Blues won their fifth game in a row. Elliot now owns a personal shutout streak of 1:29:31. Alexander Steen scored the lone goal for the Blues. St. Louis has not lost since its acquired defensemen Jordan Leopold from Buffalo and Jay Bouwmeester from Calgary.

Wild forward Dany Heatley had successful arthriscopic surgery on his shoulder Tuesday in Cleveland. Heatley who was injured April 3 against San Jose, is expected to miss the rest of the season.
Meet The Blues If You're Going
The Blues are winners of five-straight games while G Brian Elliott has won four-straight starts posting back-to-back shutouts this week. Check out the tribute to several State of Hockey champions in sections 106-107. The display honors the Minnesota Hockey Youth State Champions in 2012-13 with a sweater, team photo and team roster. The official opening is Saturday, but sneak a peek tonight.

The Wild will wear its RED sweaters tonight.
Who's Hot Gameday Media
Ryan Suter skated 32:23 Tuesday - the second-highest ice time of his career. He has topped 31 minutes of ice time in two straight games. The Norris Trophy Contender is trying to become the first NHL defenseman to lead the league in TOI, assists and points amongst defenseman since Brian Leetch in 2000-01.

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 | Brodziak Pregame | Falk Pregame |
PONDcast
Wild vs. STL
Probably Wild Lineup Between The Pipes
All healthy forwards are in the lineup tonight:

Pominville – Koivu – Parise
Coyle – Brodziak – Clutterbuck
Bouchard – Granlund – Setoguchi
Rupp – Konopka – Mitchell

The D-pairings will look a little different from Tuesday:

Brodin – Suter
Spurgeon – Stoner
Falk – Gilbert

Backstrom is tied for the NHL lead with 20 wins this season. At home Backstrom has posted an 11-5-1 record with a 2.14 GAA and a .919 SV%.
View From The Press Box
Winners find a way to overcome that, and that's what we'll do

- Yeo on Heatley and Cullen's injuries on Wednesday
If the blue line is the same as Wednesday's practice, Nate Prosser and Brett Clark will be tonight's healthy scratches.

Dany Heatley is out for the rest of the season following arthriscopic shoulder surgery on Tuesday. Matt Cullen is unavailable due to a lower-body injury. Josh Harding is on Injured Reserve as he continues treatment for multiple sclerosis. 
Honorary State of Hockey Resident Worthless Stat
David Backes is a native of Minneapolis and played three seasons at MSU-Mankato (2003-06), while T.J. Oshie played high school hockey in Warroad. Jordan Leopold is from Golden Valley and played four seasons with the University of Minnesota (1998-2002). Minnesota has allowed the game's first goal in six of its last seven contests. That stretch comes after Minnesota opened the scoring in 10 of 11 contests. The Wild is 14-4-0 when opening the game's scoring this season.
Broadcast Info In Case You Missed It
Wild vs. St. Louis will be broadcast locally in high definition on FOX Sports North with a start time of 7 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
Wild Timeline: A Welcome Surprise | Hungry For More | Zucker Makes All-Rookie | Five Takeaways vs. CHI | Prospect Report - April 10 | Wild Signs Haula
WildTV
Yeo - April 10 | Harding - April 10
PONDcast
Wild vs. CHI - April 9 |
Photo Gallery
Wild vs. CHI - April 9 |

2012-2013 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 11 '13 STL 2 at MIN 0 R. Polak
Apr 01 '13 STL 4 at MIN 1 A. McDonald
Jan 27 '13 MIN 4 at STL 5 - OT V. Sobotka
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
C. Stewart39161531+43843
A. Steen3171825+5823
D. Perron3991423+03822
D. Backes3951823+24811
P. Berglund3915722-1842
K. Shattenkirk3931821+41220
T. Oshie3071320-51521
A. Pietrangelo3851520+0820
J. Bouwmeester3861218-82010
V. Sobotka398917-22712
V. Tarasenko298917+01031
A. McDonald2851116+01211
B. Jackman393912+73900
J. Schwartz364610-4400
J. Leopold30268-61400
C. Porter20246+4002
W. Redden23235-21100
R. Polak39145-34201
K. Russell31145+4410
A. Cracknell13224+1200
R. Reaves34123+06500
M. D'Agostini16112-4200
S. Nichol30101-22501
I. Cole15011-41000
J. Langenbrunner4011+1000
A. Murray1000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
J. Allen139-3-0283152.33.911
B. Elliott168-6-1373432.68.892
J. Halak166-5-1292862.14.899
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
M. Koivu4092433+62203
Z. Parise40151732+71663
R. Suter4042529+12231
J. Pominville41111627-1811
M. Cullen3571825+61000
D. Setoguchi40121224+62042
D. Heatley36111021-12831
P. Bouchard3541115+3802
J. Spurgeon315914+4442
K. Brodziak406410-15811
C. Coyle29639+61112
T. Gilbert35369-141610
J. Brodin37279+61010
C. Clutterbuck34358-72700
C. Stoner40088+22800
T. Mitchell37437-52101
M. Granlund23167-3400
J. Zucker14415+5600
M. Rupp36134-26700
J. Falk33033-84000
M. Scandella6101-1400
Z. Konopka34000-310000
N. Prosser17000+4400
D. Powe8000+1900
B. Clark3000-4000
J. Larsson1000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
N. Backstrom3420-12-2779002.38.914
D. Kuemper51-2-091171.98.923
J. Harding41-1-07612.92.885
M. Hackett10-1-05335.08.848
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