There's a nice kind of symmetry in playing the Wild tonight. These two teams played on 11/05, the last game under Coach Davis Payne. After that loss, the Blues sent Payne packing, and brought in Ken Hitchcock. The Blues enjoyed a homestand with a record of 4-0-1, the best first-5-game record ever for a Blues coach. Now, the Blues have to prove that this also works on the road, and their first stop is ... Minnesota again. Both teams are currently riding a 3-game winning streak. One of those ends tonight. In the music post for 11/05, we heard Van Morrison's classic Wild Night. In a nod to the symmetry of tonight's match-up, and to the same-but-different team that rolls into the Xcel Energy Center tonight, here's the cover by Mellencamp. What a great bass line.
The Enemy: Since the last time the Blues played them, the Wild have gone on a run of 4-2-0, and have won 8 of their last 10. They are first in the Northwest Division with an overall record of 11-5-3. The young Minnesota D is blocking shots (MN leads the league with 318) and that coupled with great goaltending (Harding is 1.78 /.950, Backstrom is 1.97/ .930) is what got them there. Notable losses for them are Guillaume Latendresse (GWG the last game) and Marek Zidlicky, both out with concussions. The Wild aren't scoring much, but not allowing many goals either. In fact, their beat guy reports that of the 19 games the Wild have played, 12 were 1-goal games. In those, the Wild's record is 7-2-3. The All-Star, Dany Heatley, leads the team in points (5G /7A) and Matt Cullen leads in goals (8).
An interesting match-up: Minnesota gets the 2nd-fewest shots on goal per game. St Louis allows the fewest shots on goal per game. Also, it looks like Harding and Halak in net tonight.
Final Verse: The puck drops at 7PM St Louis time tonight, and the GDT should come along shortly beforehand. The broadcasts are on the usual outlets, FoxSports MW for TV and KMOX 1120 AM for radio. Until then, gather here, continue to celebrate Perron's return to contact practice, predict how long the new-coach honeymoon lasts, and enjoy learning about more Wildlife:
Water Chevrotains Are Adorable, Crowned Eagles are Nasty (original narration by Randall) (via czg123)