NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, December 31st (All times Eastern)
St. Louis Blues (26-7-5) at Minnesota Wild (20-16-5), 6 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Minnesota Wild will try to halt their longest losing streak of the season when they welcome the St. Louis Blues for Tuesday's clash between Central Division foes.
The Wild have lost five straight games -- all in regulation -- to give the club its worst skid since an 0-4-1 stretch from Feb. 28-March 6, 2012. The last three losses have come without Zach Parise in the lineup, and the star forward will miss a fourth straight tilt tonight due to his lower-body issue.
Without Parise, Minnesota will try to halt its slide against a Blues team that is 12 points ahead of the Wild in the Central Division standings. St. Louis also has won six straight in this series and has posted shutouts in the last two encounters between the clubs.
The Blues downed a visiting Wild club by a 3-0 score on Nov. 25 in the first of five scheduled meetings between the clubs this season. Jaroslav Halak made 22 saves for the shutout after Brian Elliott helped the Blues down the Wild by a 2-0 score on April 11 of last season.
Elliott will get the call in net for St. Louis tonight and is 4-0 with a 2.04 goals against average in five career games (4 starts) against Minnesota. Josh Harding expects to get the start in net for the Wild and is 6-3-1 with a 1.92 GAA in his career against the Blues.
Harding and the Wild did not have a good showing in Sunday's home game against the New York Islanders, as Minnesota coughed up a 3-0 lead en route to losing by a 5-4 score in regulation. Harding stopped 26-of-31 shots in the loss as he allowed more than three goals in a game for the first time this season.
Kyle Okposo scored the go-ahead goal with 5:48 left in the third period for the Isles, who allowed the game's first three goals before rallying for the road victory. New York scored four straight goals to take a 4-3 lead early in the third before Minnesota briefly tied it with Justin Fontaine's goal at 13:45 of the final stanza. Okposo notched the game-winner just 27 seconds after Fontaine's tally.
Nino Niederreiter scored once and added an assist for the Wild, who had a four-game home winning streak snapped to fall to 14-4-2 as the host this season.
"The only way you can win in this league is to play a good 60-minute game and find a way," Wild captain Mikko Koivu said. "It's the only thing you can do."
The Blues, who boast a solid 11-4-3 road record this season, picked up a overtime win Sunday in Dallas. The 3-2 decision was the fourth win in five games for St. Louis, which is 4-0-1 during that stretch.
Kevin Shattenkirk's goal late in overtime lifted the Blues to the recent win over the Stars. A night after tallying the game-winner in a shootout to top Chicago, Shattenkirk lit the lamp with 11 seconds remaining in the extra period on Sunday to help the Blues edge Dallas at American Airlines Center.
"I think we just stuck with it," said Blues winger Brendan Morrow. "Playing back-to-backs aren't easy, especially a team that skates as well as this one. We just had to stay with it."
Jaden Schwartz and T.J. Oshie scored in regulation for St. Louis, while Elliott made 28 saves to earn the win.
With 57 points on the season, St. Louis is sitting second in the Central Division, six points in back of Chicago.
12/31 11:00:03 ET