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Wild Continue Playoff Fight Against the Blues

(Sports Network) – The Minnesota Wild will try to continue their recent hot streak when they visit the St. Louis Blues tonight at Scottrade Center for the start of a home-and-home series.

The Wild have won four of five and seven of their last nine games, and the run has helped Minnesota move closer to a potential playoff spot. With 61 points, the Wild are just two points behind Calgary for the eighth and final postseason seed in the Western Conference.

Tonight also marks the first of four meetings between the Wild and Blues this season. Minnesota will host St. Louis on Saturday and the clubs will close the season series in March, when they meet for another home-and-home series.

The Blues have won four of the last six meetings against Minnesota and the Wild have dropped four straight and six out of nine in the Gateway City.

The Wild lost a 1-0 decision in Phoenix last Saturday, but Todd Richards’ club rebounded Wednesday night against the visiting Colorado Avalanche. Niklas Backstrom made 23 saves and three goal-scorers paced the Minnesota offense in the 3-2 win at Xcel Energy Center.

Antti Miettinen, John Madden and Martin Havlat scored for the Wild and Backstrom improved to 3-1-0 in his last four starts. Jose Theodore is expected to start Friday’s game in St. Louis and Backstrom will get the call Saturday in St. Paul.

“Our defense has been solid the last two months and we feel very comfortable with all of our guys back there,” said Minnesota’s Andrew Brunette. “They do a great job and we also have great goaltending.”

The Wild are 15-9-3 as the guest this year and they have four wins in their last six games away from St. Paul.

St. Louis has won two of its three games since the All-Star break and enters tonight trailing the Wild by five points in the West standings. The Blues are currently tied with Colorado for 13th place in the conference.

The Blues picked up a 2-1 win Tuesday in Florida as Matt D’Agostini netted the game-winning goal with four minutes remaining in regulation to help St. Louis down the Panthers at BankAtlantic Center.

David Backes also scored for the Blues, who have earned at least one point in three straight games (2-0-1) on the heels of a four-game winless skid. Jaroslav Halak finished with 30 saves in the victory.

“We kept with our game plan and tried to wear them down,” said D’Agostini. “I thought we played an all-around solid game tonight.”

Halak has never faced the Wild in his career, but St. Louis’ No. 1 netminder could start both games against Minnesota this weekend.

St. Louis is 16-8-3 as the host this year compared to an 8-12-5 record on the road.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.