A pair of West Division rivals take the ice in the Gateway City in search of what could be a critical victory. The Minnesota Wild are on the road as they play the second game of a two-game back-to-back set with the St. Louis Blues Saturday night. These teams were slated to play each other on Friday night to open the series. Minnesota trounced Colorado 8-3 Wednesday night at home to earn a split of their two-game set with the Avalanche. St. Louis split a two-game set at home with Vegas as they picked up a 3-1 victory Wednesday night in their most recent contest. The teams have met just once entering Friday’s action with Minnesota earning a 2-0 victory at home on March 25.
Minnesota Wild Trying to Chase Down Top Spot in West DivisionMinnesota won for the third time in four games as they took care of business against Colorado to earn a split of their two-game set with the Avalanche. The Wild entered Friday third in the West Division, six points behind Colorado for the top spot and 10 points ahead of fifth-place St. Louis to remain in the playoff picture. Minnesota comes into the game 13th in goals per game with 3.03 goals a night. The Wild stands 9th in goals against as they allow 2.53 goals per contest. Minnesota is 26th in the league in success with the man advantage as they have converted just 14.8% of their chances with the man advantage this season. The Wild is 3rd in penalty killing as they successfully navigate through 84.9% of their shorthanded situations this season.
In Wednesday’s game against Colorado, the Wild got their offense clicking and buried the Avalanche to earn a split of their two-game set. The opening period saw Minnesota hold a 9-4 shot advantage and they jumped to a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes of play. Kirill Kaprizov opened the scoring with a power play goal, his 15th of the season, at 4:00 off assists from Victor Rask and Jared Spurgeon. Luke Johnson gave Minnesota a 2-0 lead with his first of the season at 13:15 off assists from Kyle Rau and Carson Soucy. Kevin Fiala extended to a 3-0 Wild edge with his 12th of the year, on the power play, at 18:38 with assists going to Spurgeon and Rask. In the second period, Minnesota was outshot 14-4 and was outscored 3-2 to trim their lead to 5-3 after 40 minutes of play. After Colorado cut the lead to two goals, Ryan Hartman restored the three-goal advantage with his sixth of the year, unassisted, at the 4:37 mark. The Avalanche cut the deficit to one goal before Kiprizov responded for Minnesota with his second of the game and 16th of the year, on the power play at 13:38 with assists going to Spurgeon and Fiala. In the third period, the Wild were outshot 14-6 but outscored the Avalanche 3-0 to put the game away. Fiala scored his second of the game and 13th of the season at 4:24 off an assist from Nick Bonino to give the Wild a 6-3 edge. Joel Eriksson Ek gave Minnesota a 7-3 lead with his 13th of the year at 7:18 with assists going to Jordan Greenway and Zach Parise. Thirty-eight seconds later, Fiala completed his hat trick with his third of the night and 14th of the year, on the power play, at 7:56 with assists going to Rask and Kaprizov to close the scoring. Cam Talbot made 29 saves for the Wild, who were outshot 32-19, in the victory. Kaapo Kahkonen is projected to get the start in goal here.
St. Louis Blues Looking to Gain Ground in Playoff ChaseSt. Louis was 0-6-1 in their previous seven games and 2-8-4 in their previous 14 before earning a win over Vegas in their previous contest. The Blues entered Friday fifth in the West Division, 16 points behind the Avalanche for the top spot, and three points behind the Coyotes for the final playoff spot in the division. St. Louis is 20th in the league in goals for as they average 2.69 goals a contest this season. The Blues stand 23rd in the league in goals against as they allow an average of 3.15 goals a night. St. Louis is 24th in power play success as they cash in on 17.5% of their chances with the man advantage this season. The Blues are a weak tied for 24th in penalty killing as they successfully navigate only 76.2% of their shorthanded situations this year.
In Wednesday’s game, St. Louis got off to a strong start offensively and that helped them earn a victory to snap their slide. The opening period saw the Blues with a 16-12 shot advantage and they took a 2-0 lead to the dressing room after 20 minutes. Vladimir Tarasenko opened the scoring with his third of the year 48 seconds into the game off assists from Jaden Schwartz and Vince Dunn. Sammy Blais gave the Blues a 2-0 edge with his fourth of the year at 7:21 off assists from David Perron and Torey Krug. In the second period, St. Louis was dominated as they were outshot 21-4 but neither side lit the lamp, leaving the game 2-0 after 40 minutes. The final period saw the Blues outshot 18-15 with both teams scoring once and leaving St. Louis with the victory. Jake Walman scored his first of the year at 13:31 off assists from Jordan Kyrou and Ivan Barbashev to make it 3-0. Vegas scored with 4:16 to play to break the shutout but that was as close as they would get in the game. Jordan Binnington made 50 saves for the Blues, who were outshot 51-35, in the victory. Ville Husso is expected to get the start in goal for this contest.
The top trends for this contest are:
- Wild are 5-1 in their last 6 in the third game of a 3-in-4 situation
- Wild are 4-1 in their last 5 games playing on 0 days of rest
- Blues are 1-7 in their last 8 vs. a team with a winning % above .600
- Blues are 1-7 in their last 8 vs. West Division teams
- Blues are 1-7 in their last 8 overall
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Both teams are going to have some heavy legs with playing their third game in four nights and the second game of a back-to-back set here. That’s going to be something to watch as it could lead to a lot quicker shifts for both sides. St. Louis may be at home but they have really sputtered of late with just three wins in their last 15 games. Minnesota is a tough team and they have been solid on both ends of the ice. While Binnington bailed out the Blues in the game against Vegas, he likely won’t be in goal here since the expectation is that he’ll be in net Friday night. Minnesota is playing well and they get the upper hand in this contest.
Full-Game Total Pick
Fatigue will be a factor for both teams here. We didn’t see much in the way of offense in the first meeting a couple weeks ago as the teams combined for just two goals. Minnesota has seen the over post a 21-17 mark in their games this season. The Wild have seen an average total of 5.55 goals per contest this season. That number climbs up slightly to 5.60 goals per game as the road team on the year. St. Louis has seen the under post a 20-17-1 mark in their 38 games on the year. The Blues have seen an average of 5.85 goals a game this season though that number climbs slightly to an even 5.89 goals a night as the home team. With both teams playing the second game of a back-to-back and their third in four nights, this one falls short of the mark.