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Stiff Upper Lip: Blues at Minnesota Wild Preview

The Wild are undefeated against the Central ... but they haven't played the Blues yet

Go For Osh !!!
Go For Osh !!!
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Well, the win against Edmonton was tougher than it needed to be, but those 2 points are all that matter. Like the old saying goes, "They don't ask how, just how many". Celebrate the two points, then put the game face back on for the second of back-to-back games. Let's get it up, boys. Tonight, the Blues roll into St Paul, Minnesota to face the Wild. The Wild are also playing the second of back-to-back matches, having defeated Dallas last night 5-4 in OT.

The Wild are a Frankenstein's monster of a team. If you look at their top scorers, you'd have to go down to #6 to find a player that was developed by the organization (Charlie Coyle), and #7 for an actual Wild draft pick (Jason Zucker). The top end talent among the skaters are trades and free agent signings. Their points leader is Zach Parise with 14 (8 goals, 6 assists). Right behind him are Jason Pominville (4g/9a) and goal scoring leader Nino Niederreiter (10g, 3a). After that, you have Thomas Vanek and Ryan Suter with 11 points each.

Despite owner Craig Leipold having the big balls to cry poor and contribute to the last lockout, he signed Parise and Suter earlier that year to matching 13-year, 98-million-dollar contracts. Money talks, and players walk. Pominville was acquired in a trade with Buffalo in April 2013. Vanek was the big gun signed this past offseason to a 3-year 19.5-million deal. Neiderrieter was dealt to the Wild from the Islanders in exchange for Cal Clutterbuck in June of 2013. Judging from this, it would seem that the Wild are trying to buy their success. There will always be guns for hire.

Has it worked? Well, they broke a 4-year chain of missing the playoffs by finally qualifying in the 2012-2013 season. There, they were eliminated in the first round by Chicago. Last year, they beat Colorado in the first round, only to fall to Chicago again in the 2nd round. So far this year, they've posted a 13-9-0 record, good for 5th in the tough Central Division. Last night, the Wild coughed up a 3-0 lead to the Dallas Stars, but snatched a victory in OT. This was the third time that they've blown a 3-goal lead already this season.

Sooo... maybe it has worked, but it's nothing to be enthusiastic about. Who are these guys? They have barely played together, and don't really have an identity yet. Maybe they will have one, someday. Until then.... meh.

Jake Allen will be in goal for the Blues, and we're expecting Niklas Backstrom for the Wild (though not confirmed). The Wild started Darcy Kuemper last night. Backstrom has posted a 3-2-0 record and a 2.04 GAA / .914 SV% stat line. Kuemper has started the majority of the games, with the results of 9-7-0 and 2.26 GAA / .911 Sv%. The only noticeable absence for the Wild is Matt Cooke, who is on IR.

Further Reading:

Hockey Wilderness

Russo's Rants

Blues vs Wild coverage

GameDay Twitter:

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Final Verse: The puck drops at 7:00 St Louis time, and the GDT should drop shortly before that. Come for the cursing, stay for the puppy gifs. The TV broadcast is on Fox Sports MW, and the radio call will be on KMOX 1120. Join us, won't you? Here's a little warm-up video to get the blood pumping.