St. Louis at Minnesota
When: 8:00 PM
ET, Saturday, November 29, 2014
Where: Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, Minnesota
A pair of teams coming off dramatic overtime victories will square off Saturday when the Minnesota Wild host the St. Louis Blues in a matchup of Central Division rivals. The Wild survived squandering an early three-goal lead and had to rally to eke out a 5-4 victory at Dallas on Friday night on defenseman Marco Scandella's game-winning tally. The Blues will provide the first test on a rugged four-game homestand for Minnesota that features four opponents who are leading or tied atop their respective divisions.
Vladimir Tarasenko was making headlines on a nightly basis earlier this season when he pumped in eight goals during a six-game stretch, and the 22-year-old Russian was at it again with another highlight-reel tally in overtime to lift St. Louis to a 4-3 victory over visiting Edmonton. Although he's cooled off since that blistering stretch, Tarasenko still has four goals in his last eight games to boost his team-high total to 13. "It's fun watching that kid shoot the puck," teammate T.J. Oshie said. "He can't do it enough."
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), FSN North (Minnesota)
ABOUT THE BLUES (15-6-2): Jay Bouwmeester will sit out his fourth straight game Saturday with a lower-body injury that ended his 737-game ironman streak, but his fellow defensemen are providing some solid production. Kevin Shattenkirk, the team leader with 16 assists, scored his second goal of the season Friday, as did Alex Pietrangelo, who also collected an assist to give him multiple points in three of his last four games. "This is the 'Petro' we saw most of last year," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said of Pietrangelo, who amassed 51 points last season. "He's in attack mode now."
ABOUT THE WILD (13-9-0): Thomas Vanek was signed by Minnesota to provide a boost to the offense, but he was mired in one of the worst slumps of his career with one goal in his first 21 games. Vanek, who has scored at least 20 goals in each of his first nine seasons and entered the campaign with 278 career tallies, broke out of his funk by snapping an 11-game goalless drought while producing his first three-point performance of the season. "The consistency is going to come," Wild coach Mike Yeo said of Vanek's scoring. "that’s our job as far as developing the habits. They’re not habits right now."
1. The Wild ended a nine-game winless drought against St. Louis with a 4-2 home win on April 10.
2. Hitchcock needs one win to move past Mike Keenan (671) and into sole possession of sixth place on the all-time list.
3. Wild F Nino Niederreiter has seven goals in his past eight games.
PREDICTION: Wild 3, Blues 2
Stats and Records