The Minnesota Wild aren't in a playoff spot anymore. The Colorado Avalanche, whose slow start caused many to write them off for the season, have leapfrogged them, and now the Wild are a point out of the last wild card position. What caused this? A 9-11-6 road record hasn't been helpful; going 1-8-1 in their last ten certainly isn't lending them a hand.
The Blues are having issues too, sure. Their 2.37 goals a game ranks 25th in the league, which is cause for concern (to everyone but the Blues, apparently). They're smack dab in the middle of the league with shots per game. Their once top-five power-play has dried up, not scoring a goal since January 12th. Both teams have survived on the strength of their goaltending, but while Brian Elliott continues his tear, Devan Dubnyk seems to be returning to earth.
After Thursday's flat, one-goal performance against the San Jose Sharks, it seems like what amounts to a sense of urgency is finally creeping into the Blues' locker room. As Patrik Berglund and Alexander Steen mentioned to Jeremy Rutherford, getting bodies to the net and getting better chances on the goal need to happen.
"We’ve got to get bodies to the net," Blues forward Patrik Berglund said. "We get a lot of shot attempts, but a lot get fronted and blocked and we’re going the other way. The traffic is not there. Throughout the years, we’ve been doing a good job of that, but we’ve been drifting away from it. It all starts with shooting more towards the net. Either it goes in or we get it back."
"Shooting at the right times and getting secondary pressure on the net," forward Alexander Steen added. "So once you hit them with one blow, it’s almost like you’ve got to hit them again. Get to the net, create havoc, make sure the goalie doesn’t see everything, start getting bounces and that’s when it turns."
Hopefully tonight will be a golden opportunity to manhandle the Wild and push their way into a decent position.
The lines for tonight have a pleasant development: Magnus Paajarvi isn't in the top six. It has a less pleasant development: Scottie Upshall is on the top line with Steen and Backes.
Save us, Jaden Schwartz. You're our only hope.
Scottie Upshall-Alexander Steen-David Backes
Patrik Berglund-Paul Stastny-Vladimir Tarasenko
Robby Fabbri-Jori Lehtera-Troy Brouwer
Magnus Paajarvi-Kyle Brodziak-Dmitrij Jaskin
Jay Bouwmeester-Alex Pietrangelo
Joel Edmundson-Kevin Shattenkirk
Carl Gunnarsson-Colton Parayko