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Blues at Wild Preview: Three games in four nights

This schedule is a bear.

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Minnesota Wild David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

The Blues are done with the Colorado Avalanche, which automatically makes their remaining schedule a little lighter than it was. Taking those last two games from the Avs was a good way to get the Blues to focus on the playoff push down the stretch. That fourth spot in the West Division keeps exchanging hands between the Blues and the Coyotes, and the Blues would be smart to keep adding some points and some distance. Luckily, the Blues have played three fewer games than the Coyotes, so that’s six points right there. Win those three games, and the Blues are more than likely in.

Monday night’s 4-1 win over the Avalanche was notable because it finally snapped some droughts - specifically those of Brayden Schenn and David Perron. Robert Thomas and Vladimir Tarasenko also contributed. Having guys like Schenn who had gone 19 games without a goal and Tarasenko, who has only three goals in 21 games, score demonstrates just how much the Blues have needed their top six to consistently produce. Ryan O’Reilly, contrary to Saturday afternoon’s performance, can’t do it all.

As the top six go, so goes the team.

Tonight, the top six (and the rest of the team) go to Minnesota to take on the Wild. Thanks to schedule changes, the Blues will be playing Minnesota three times in four days: tonight at 6 (it’s on NBCSN, so that explains the early start), tomorrow at 7 PM, and Saturday evening at 7 as well.

The Wild have been on an absolute tear, winning seven games in a row and clinching a playoff spot. They’re 17 points ahead of the Blues in the standings, so this stretch is less about leapfrogging the Wild and more about just getting into the post-season. The Blues handled the Avalanche without Colton Parayko and Vince Dunn. They’ll have to handle the Wild without Dunn for certain tonight. A call on Parayko will come closer to game time.

The Blues are 2-1 against the Wild, which includes a 9-1 drubbing back on April 9th. There’s still five games to go against Minnestoa, all of them key, and all of them winnable.