The Wild will travel south to take on the Blues in St Louis for Wednesday night hockey. The Wild have stumbled out of the gates so far this season with a 4-8 record while the Blues are 6-3-3 this year after a win over Detroit in their last game in overtime.
The Wild have not been able to find any kind of rhythm to start their season so far. They will be on the road to take on the Blues tonight and they are just 1-7 in away games this year. They have also lost their last four games straight on the road.
Minnesota is averaging 2.42 goals per game while giving up 3.58. They will have to step up against the Blues if they hope to get the job done tonight with Jordan Binnington in net. They currently have Dunyk listed as day-to-day, but Stalock holds the better numbers so far with 2.49 goals-against average and one shutout.
Despite the sloppy start, Eric Staal has been performing well for the Wild again this season with four goals and four assists so far. Only Matt Dumba has more assists with 5 after collecting two in their win over the Kings on Saturday night.
The Wild will be looking to bounce back after taking a brutal loss to the Dallas Stars in their last game. They were in the second period up 3-0 and looked to be on their way to their second road win of the season when the Stars rallied back with one goal in the second and five in the third to beat the Wild 6-3.
St Louis Blues
The Blues are coming off an overtime win in Detroit and will return home, well-rested and ready for the Wild to come to town. The big news for the Blues this week has been the injury to their star right-winger Vladimir Tarasenko who will be required to miss a significant amount of time, up to five months.
The Blues are currently averaging 3.08 goals per game while allowing 3.17. After an impressive Stanley Cup run last season, starting goaltender Jordan Binnington has been off to a relatively slow start this season with a 5-2-3 record and a 2.67 GAA. This should be a good game for him to settle in and lock down his net at home against a weaker team.
With Tarasenko out, the Blues have looked for other guys on the roster to step up and contribute. Ryan O’Reilly is the first name that comes to mind after being awarded the Conn Smythe trophy for Stanley cup MVP. He has started the season with 3 goals and 9 assists so far this season.
Another player who may have been off some people’s radar that has stepped up so far for the Blues this season is center Brayden Schenn. Schenn is leading the Blues in points with 9 goals and 4 assists. He was able to grab a powerplay goal and an assist on David Perron’s game winner in their last game against the Red Wings.
The Blues appear to be the better team on paper in this game with better scorers and one of the strongest defenses in hockey. The key for them tonight is to be able to adjust with the loss of Tarasenko and find other guys in the lower lines to step up such as David Perron, Zach Sanford, and Alexander Steen.
What to expect
The Blues should be able to cover this one tonight against the Wild. They are well rested and at home against a team that has struggled this season on the road. The Blues defense alone should be able to keep the Wild on their heels enough to keep them from ever getting a lead in this one.