One of the most competitive games on Saturday’s NHL slate features the St. Louis Blues (23-19-6) and the Minnesota Wild (31-14-4). Both are in playoff position; the Wild have already clinched their playoff spot, while St. Louis has a three-point lead over the Arizona Coyotes with three games in hand.
The Blues have dominated the season series, winning four of the five meetings, including four straight. St. Louis has outscored Minnesota 21-10 over the last four games, though one of those contests was a 9-1 drubbing from the Blues.
Despite the recent results, the Wild are the odds-on favorites at home with -145, while the road Blues are +125. The puck drop is at 8 p,m. Eastern on ESPN+.
St. Louis Blues Preview
The Blues are finally playing the level of hockey we knew they were capable of, and they’re playing well at the right time. St. Louis is 7-3-0 in its last 10 games, including their last four. Two of those wins were against the Cup favorite Colorado Avalanche, and the other two were against the Wild Wednesday and Thursday.
St. Louis has been on the grind through injuries but managed to stay in the playoff mix and should be a force to contend with once the Blues get there. The Blues are a solid offensive team, scoring the 12th-most goals per game at 2.96. However, they’ve struggled in net at times and allow the 11th-most goals per game with 3.08. If they can tighten things down between the pipes, St. Louis will be a tough team to beat.
Speaking of the goaltenders, Jordan Binnington is the expected starter. In 2021, Binnington has a 15-14-5 record, a 2.69 GAA, and a .909 save percentage. He’s also won two of three games against Minnesota, allowing six goals in those matchups.
Vladimir Tarasenko missed Thursday’s game against Minnesota and is listed as day-to-day on the injury report. Keep an eye on his status, as he could be good to go after getting the night off to recover from a lower-body injury. Vince Dunn is out until early next week, and the rest of the players on St. Louis’ injury report are done for the season.
Minnesota Wild Preview
Minnesota clinched their playoff spot and are two points behind the Avalanche for second in the West Division. With a 7-1-2 record in their last 10 games, the Wild has come close to securing home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs but will need to gain at least two more points on Colorado, who has a game in hand.
The Wild thrives on using their defense to generate offense. Minnesota blocks more shots per game (15.04 per 60 minutes) than any other team but the Vegas Golden Knights. They also have the fifth-most 5-on-5 goals (109) in the league.
Rookie Kirill Kaprizov is putting together a strong campaign to win the Calder Trophy as the league’s best rookie. Kaprizov leads all rookies with 23 goals and 42 points, and he’s found the scoresheet in six of his last seven games.
Cam Talbot is in line to make his third straight start. On the campaign, Talbot has a 17-7-4 record, a 2.48 GAA, a .920 save percentage, and two shutouts. While one of those shutouts was against the Blues, he’s also lost his last three against St. Louis; two of those losses came in overtime.
On to the Pick
St. Louis has taken it to Minnesota, and though the Wild are ahead in the standings, the Blues have been the better team head-to-head. There’s slightly more desperation with St. Louis as well, as a win increases their playoff chances to 97%.
Take the Blues to once again upset Minnesota in a close contest and earn a crucial two points in the West Division Standings.