The Minnesota Wild hope to put their bleak October behind them starting Saturday night when they host the St. Louis Blues.
The Wild fell to the Blues 2-1 Wednesday night to finish their month 4-9. The eight points were the fewest Minnesota earned in its first month since it started their inaugural 2000-01 season 2-7-3 for seven points.
“Flip the page and flip the calendar,” winger Zach Parise said. “Let’s start over in November.”
The Wild are 3-1-0 at home at Xcel Energy Center this season but just 1-8-0 on the road.
“I think there’s games we’ve played pretty good on the road and haven’t gotten the results we’d like to get,” Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau told reporters after the loss in St. Louis. “But I think in defeat, this was a really positive thing for us, and if we can build off of this, we’ve got them again on Saturday, and it’s not going to be easy. But if we can build off of it, that’s what we want to do.”
Parise is one of many struggling Wild players. He has no goals in his past five games and just three points with a minus-12 rating so far this season.
“It’s been very frustrating,” Parise said. “I feel like at least the last couple games I’ve been getting some looks and making plays and setting guys up. Just not going in. It’s always a hard time when that’s happening.”
On the other hand, Wild center Eric Staal (four goals and four assists) and winger Jason Zucker (two goals, four assists) have heated up during the past six games.
The Blues roll into the rematch with five victories in their last six games. They rallied from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 in overtime Friday night.
Brayden Schenn has 10 goals in 14 games this season, and David Perron has seven goals — including overtime game-winners in two of the past three games and four game-winners overall.
With the Blues missing high-volume shooter Vladimir Tarasenko for five months due to shoulder surgery, they are looking for other players to assert themselves on offense.
The Blues are averaging 28.6 shots per game, which ranks 27th in the NHL.
“It’s quality shots for me more than anything,” Blues coach Craig Berube said. “Just wasting shots, I find that’s not the answer most times. I think quality shots are key.
“There’s maybe times where we’re passing up good, quality shots. But puck possession and keeping the puck is just as important. A shot from the outside that the goalie freezes — I’d rather keep the puck and control it in the offensive zone more.”
Since Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington played Friday night — in his sixth consecutive start — seldom-seen Jake Allen should get the start against the Wild. He is 1-1-0 with a 4.17 goals-against average this season.
Allen is 7-4-2 with a 2.58 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage in 17 career games against the Wild.
–Field Level Media