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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, November 25th (All times Eastern)

Minnesota Wild (15-5-4) at St. Louis Blues (16-3-3), 8 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - Outstanding Novembers have the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues right in the thick of things in a crowded Central Division.

The new division rivals meet for the first time this season as the Wild conclude their road trip looking to deal the Blues a rare loss at home.

Minnesota, formally of the Northwest Division, joined St. Louis in the new- look Central Division following realignment and both clubs are showing signs of being major contenders this season. The Blues are second in the division with 35 points, one back of the first-place Chicago Blackhawks, while the Colorado Avalanche and Wild are just a single point back of St. Louis.

The Blues have gone 8-1-1 over their last 10 games, while the Wild have gone 9-1-1 in November and overcame the loss of goaltender Josh Harding on Saturday in a 3-2 shootout win over the Winnipeg Jets.

Harding, who is second in the NHL with 1.48 goals against average and tied for second in the league with 13 wins, suffered a lower-body injury during warmups and was replaced by Niklas Backstrom.

Backstrom himself had just been activated from injured reserve prior to the game and made 37 saves before stopping three of four in the shootout. It was his first game action since getting hit in the head by Toronto's Nazem Kadri during a collision on Nov. 13.

"(Backstrom) was the difference in the game for us. I mean obviously I give our players a great deal of credit for dealing with the adversity with what happened at the beginning of the game," said Wild head coach Mike Yeo. "It's a little bit easier to deal with it when you see your goalie go out and play the way that he was."

Nino Niederreiter and Zach Parise scored for the Wild in regulation, while Charlie Coyle's fourth-round shootout tally was the winner.

Minnesota improved to 4-1-2 in its last seven games on the road and its 34 points (15-5-4) on the season marks the club's best start in franchise history, surpassing the 31 points posted in 2008-09 and 2011-12.

The Wild were also without forward Mikael Granlund on Saturday due to an upper-body injury. His status is unknown for tonight, while Harding's availability is also in the air despite an MRI coming back negative.

Regardless, Backstrom should get the start tonight after improving to 2-1-2 with a 3.03 GAA and .892 save percentage in eight games (7 starts) this season. He is 6-8-1 with a 2.86 GAA in 15 career matchups with the Blues.

St. Louis plays its second straight home game tonight and routed the Dallas Stars 6-1 on Saturday. The victory improved the Blues to 10-1-2 on home ice this season.

Brian Elliott had 34 saves in just his fifth start of the season, while Derek Roy, Chris Stewart and T.J. Oshie capped a balanced scoring attack with third- period goals.

"What was impressive for me is that we got better as the game went on. In other games, we started off strong and then let up a little, but this time we were playing better at the end than we were at the beginning," said Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock, who passed Bryan Murray for eighth on the all-time wins list with his 621st victory.

Vladimir Sobotka, Vladimir Tarasenko and David Backes also scored, while Alex Pietrangelo picked up a pair of assists in St. Louis' third straight win.

The Blues did lose forward Ryan Reaves to a broken right hand following a first-period fight and he is expected to miss four weeks of action.

Elliott is 4-0-1 with a 1.79 GAA in seven games this season, while Jaroslav Halak is 12-3-2 with a 2.34 GAA in 17 starts. Halak could get the start tonight, though he is just 1-2-3 with a 2.46 GAA in seven lifetime meetings with the Wild.

The Wild lost all three of their matchups with the Blues last season and have dropped five in a row in this series overall. Two of those setbacks have come beyond regulation.

Minnesota has also dropped three straight and seven of its past nine trips to St. Louis.

11/25 10:51:45 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHI 5
CAR 2
Final
SAV 49
NCCU 62
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
LAL
 
7:00pm Tonight
GT
UNC
 
9:00pm Tonight
CLEM
NCSU
 
Final
MIA 7
FIU 2
 
Final
DET 12
FLASO 2
 
1:05pm Today
DET
BAL
 
1:05pm Today
MIA
MIAFLA
 
1:05pm Today
PHI
NYY
 
1:05pm Today
BOS
NEASTERN
 
1:07pm Today
TOR
PIT
 
3:05pm Today
CIN
CLE
 
3:05pm Today
OAK
SFG
 
4:05pm Today
BOS
BOSTONCOLL
 
5:10pm Tonight
ARI
ASU
 
Final
PHI 103
TOR 114
Final
BRK 110
GSW 108
Final
MIA 115
PHO 98
Final
MIN 105
LAC 110
Final
DAL 102
NOP 93
7:00pm Tonight
CLE
BOS
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
LAL
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYK
SAC
 
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
HOU
 
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
UTA
 
8:00pm Tonight
CHI
WAS
 
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
MIL
 
Final
TEX 61
BAY 59
Final
SYR 47
UVA 59
Final
SHSU 76
CARK 49
 
Final
NWST 92
SELA 79
 
Final
NCAT 67
COOK 50
 
Final
HOW 61
NORST 59
 
Final
DELST 85
HAMP 75
 
Final
STEPH 83
INCWORD 62
 
Final
MCNST 70
LAM 69
 
Final
NO 79
NICST 89
 
Final
SAV 49
NCCU 62
 
Final
ALAAM 75
TXSOU 77
 
Final
VT 59
BC 66
Final
MVSU 66
GRAM 62
 
Final
ISU 77
OKLA 70
Final
ALAST 65
PVU 67
 
Final
ARKPB 64
JST 62
 
7:00pm Tonight
UMO
AKR
 
7:00pm Tonight
NAVY
ARMY
 
7:00pm Tonight
BST
EMICH
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUT
GEOR
 
7:00pm Tonight
IND
IOWA
 
7:00pm Tonight
FLGC
JVU
 
7:00pm Tonight
USCU
KNST
 
7:00pm Tonight
BGU
KSU
 
7:00pm Tonight
NKENTUCKY
LIP
 
7:00pm Tonight
HC
GHND
 
7:00pm Tonight
RUTG
MD
 
7:00pm Tonight
GT
UNC
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
OHIO
 
7:00pm Tonight
ALA
MISS
 
7:00pm Tonight
DAY
RIU
 
7:00pm Tonight
CMICH
TOL
 
7:00pm Tonight
DET
YOUNG
 
7:30pm Tonight
UNF
STET
 
8:00pm Tonight
ABCHRIST
HOUB
 
8:00pm Tonight
NDAK
NEOM
 
8:00pm Tonight
NILL
WMICH
 
8:00pm Tonight
ILLCH
WRST
 
9:00pm Tonight
MIZZ
AUB
 
9:00pm Tonight
UGA
KENT
 
9:00pm Tonight
NW
MICH
 
9:00pm Tonight
CLEM
NCSU
 
9:00pm Tonight
UF
TEXAM
 
9:00pm Tonight
KU
WVU
 
9:15pm Tonight
CREI
VILL
 
Final
NYR 4
NAS 1
Final
CHI 5
CAR 2
Final
SJS 4
MON 0
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
CAL
 
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
NAS
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
WAS
 
7:30pm Tonight
TAM
BUF
 
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
TOR
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
OTT
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
NYI
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARI
ANA
 
9:30pm Tonight
EDM
LOS
 
10:00pm Tonight
VAN
SJS