Stanley Cup Playoff Preview: Blues vs. Wild

Minnesota Wild right wing Chris Stewart (44) shoots the puck under St. Louis Blues goalie Brian Elliott (1) to score during the first period. (Ann Heisenfelt/AP)

Not since the North Stars were around have St. Louis and Minnesota played against each other in the post-season, but the second- and fifth-best teams in the Western Conference (by points) are set for a first round encounter.

The Wild, one of the best second half stories in the league, stormed into a playoff position after the acquisition of Devan Dubnyk turned their season around. The Blues, of course, arrive in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with entirely different expectations – if they don’t go on a deep run with this year’s team, coach Ken Hitchcock may find himself on the hot seat.

The Blues hold home-ice advantage in this series.

(C1) vs. (WC1)
G1 Thurs., April 16 Minnesota @ St. Louis, 9:30 p.m. ET SN 360
G2 Sat., April 18 Minnesota @ St. Louis, 3 p.m. ET Sportsnet
G3 Mon., April 20 St. Louis @ Minnesota, 8 p.m. ET SN ONE
G4 Wed., April 22 St. Louis @ Minnesota, 9:30 p.m. ET SN 360
G5* Fri., April 24 Minnesota @ St. Louis, TBD TBD
G6* Sun., April 26 St. Louis @ Minnesota, TBD TBD
G7* Wed., April 29 Minnesota @ St. Louis, TBD TBD

ST. LOUIS BLUES: 51-24-7. 2nd in Western Conference
MINNESOTA WILD: 46-28-8. 7th in Western Conference

St. Louis: 2-2-0
Minnesota: 2-1-1

Last game played head-to-head: On the very last day of the season, the Blues pulled out a victory even though Minnesota held them to just one shot in the first period. St. Louis scored three times in the second period and went on to a 4-2 win thanks to a pair of goals from Jori Lehtera and two points from Vladimir Tarasenko.

St. Louis: Vladimir Tarasenko (73 pts), Alex Steen (64), Jaden Schwartz (63).
Minnesota: Zach Parise (62), Jason Pominville (54), Thomas Vanek (52).

St. Louis: 5on5CF% – 51.8; 5on5Sv% – .922; 5on5Sh% – 8.24; PDO = 100.5
Minnesota: 5on5CF% – 51.1; 5on5Sv% – .917; 5on5Sh% – 8.65; PDO = 100.4

St. Louis: 6-3-1
Minnesota: 6-3-1

LAST TIME THEY MET IN THE PLAYOFFS: The Blues and Wild have never played in the post-season, but St. Louis has met Minnesota in the playoffs before. In 1991, the Blues and North Stars met in the Norris Division final where Minnesota took down the series in six games. How long ago was this? Scott Stevens was captain of the Blues that season.

Vladimir Tarasanko dangles through the Rangers to pull the Blues even at 1-1 in a November game.

Very early in the season, Mikael Granlund made everyone notice him with this beauty play against the Bruins.

St. Louis: None.

Minnesota: Keith Ballard (IR: concussion; facial fractures).

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