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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, March 27th (All times Eastern)

Minnesota Wild (37-25-11) at St. Louis Blues (49-16-7), 8 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The NHL-leading St. Louis Blues look to extend a nine- game home point streak on Thursday night when they take on the Minnesota Wild in the first of five in a row as the hosting club.

The Blues have the inside track on claiming their first Presidents' Trophy since 1999-2000. With 105 points, they are one up on the Boston Bruins with 10 games to play for both teams.

St. Louis also owns a two-point edge on the San Jose Sharks for the top seed in the Western Conference with two games in hand, and is six points ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the Central Division.

Strong play at home has helped key the Blues, who have not lost in regulation as the host since Jan. 18. They are 7-0-2 since and 25-5-4 at home overall this season.

St. Louis finished up a three-game road trip with a second straight win on Tuesday, besting the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-3 on the strength of David Backes' second career hat trick.

Backes ran his season goal total to 27, second on the club.

"I think he doesn't give himself enough credit for how good of a 200-foot player he is," said Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock about Backes. "I think that's one of the things that has really evolved in his game now. He's a really good 200-foot player. He's not just a checker, he's a guy that can play in both ends of the rink."

Alexander Steen and T.J. Oshie each posted a goal and two assists in the Blues' 10th victory in 13 games this month. The duo are tied for the club lead in points with 57, while Steen potted his career-high 31st goal of the season.

Ryan Miller made 22 saves to improve to 8-2-1 with a 2.12 goals against average in 11 starts since being acquired by St. Louis. He is 3-2-0 lifetime versus the Wild with a 2.30 GAA and is expected to start tonight.

Miller will try to extend the Blues' eight-game winning streak over the Wild, a span that includes three victories this season.

St. Louis notched a 3-0 victory in the lone previous encounter this season at home back on Nov. 25 and has won four straight and eight of the past 10 as the host in this series.

Like the Blues, the Wild control their destiny as they seek a second straight playoff berth. They have 85 points on the season, giving the club a six-point edge for one of the two wild card spots in the West.

Minnesota, though, is 3-4-4 in its last 11 games and lost a third straight contest at home with a 5-2 setback to the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night.

Charlie Coyle scored in the first period for the Wild and Nino Niederreiter netted one in the third frame.

Minnesota, though, struggled in net, with starter Darcy Kuemper yielding three goals on 12 shots through two periods. Ilya Bryzgalov wasn't much sharper in a period of relief, allowing two goals on seven shots faced.

"I'm not saying that we can't be any better between the pipes, but at the same time, there are some quality chances that we're giving up," said Wild head coach Mike Yeo.

Minnesota will begin a four-game road trip tonight and is 14-16-6 as the guest. It is unknown if the rookie Kuemper will make his first career start versus the Blues or if Bryzgalov will get the start. He is 6-11-2 with a 3.14 GAA lifetime against St. Louis.

03/27 10:51:54 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
DUKE 47
TULA 13
Final
ECU 70
UNC 41
Final
TOWSN 31
NCCU 20
 
Final
NCSU 42
PRES 0
 
1:30pm Today
CAR
CLB
 
8:30pm Tonight
CAR
PIT
Final
KAN 2
DET 3
Final
CHC 8
LOS 7
Final
OAK 0
PHI 3
Final
NYY 3
TOR 6
Final
COL 5
ARI 1
Final
BAL 7
BOS 2
Final
PIT 0
MIL 1
Final
TAM 3
CWS 1
Final
MIN 3
CLE 7
Final
ATL 2
NYM 4
Final
HOU 10
SEA 1
Final
MIA 2
WAS 3
Final
STL 8
CIN 4
Final
SDP 3
SFG 2
Final
ANA 8
TEX 5
1:05pm Today
NYY
TOR
 
1:10pm Today
MIA
WAS
 
1:35pm Today
BAL
BOS
 
1:35pm Today
PIT
MIL
 
1:35pm Today
ATL
NYM
 
1:40pm Today
TAM
CWS
 
2:10pm Today
MIN
CLE
 
2:10pm Today
KAN
DET
 
2:10pm Today
HOU
SEA
 
2:20pm Today
CHC
LOS
 
3:35pm Today
ANA
TEX
 
4:05pm Today
OAK
PHI
 
4:10pm Today
COL
ARI
 
4:10pm Today
SDP
SFG
 
8:05pm Tonight
STL
CIN
 
Final
WISC 68
BGU 17
Final
MSU 73
EMICH 14
Final
VT 24
GT 27
Final
PITT 20
IOWA 24
Final
RICE 42
ODU 45
Final
UGA 66
TROY 0
Final
SYR 20
MD 34
Final
DUKE 47
TULA 13
Final
COL 21
HAW 12
Final
AKR 17
MARS 48
Final
WAKE 24
ARMY 21
Final
KU 24
CMICH 10
Final
ALA 42
UF 21
Final
FIU 3
LOU 34
Final
ECU 70
UNC 41
Final
NAVY 24
RUTG 31
Final
SMU 6
TEXAM 58
Final
MICH 10
UTAH 26
Final
BYU 41
UVA 33
Final
WYO 20
FATL 19
Final
MIZZ 27
IND 31
Final
PSU 48
UMASS 7
Final
MINN 24
SJST 7
Final
ILL 42
TXST 35
Final
WASH 45
GASTATE 14
Final
SMISS 21
APPST 20
Final
TOL 34
BST 23
Final
OHIO 36
IDAHO 24
Final
CIN 31
UMO 24
Final
MEM 36
MTST 17
Final
LSU 29
MSST 34
Final
ARK 52
NILL 14
Final
ARKST 21
UTST 14
Final
SALABAMA 6
GASO 28
Final
WVU 33
OKLA 45
Final
VANDY 34
SCAR 48
Final
NEB 41
MIAMI 31
Final
NMST 35
NMU 38
Final
HOU 47
UNLV 14
Final
FSU 23
CLEM 17
Final
ARZ 49
CAL 45
Final
ORST 28
SDST 7
Final
WASU 31
OREG 38
Final
BSU 34
LALAF 9
1:30pm Today
CAR
CLB
 
5:00pm Tonight
WAS
BUF
 
6:30pm Tonight
CLB
STL
 
8:00pm Tonight
EDM
CAL
 
8:00pm Tonight
CAL
EDM
 
1:00pm Today
CLE
BAL
1:00pm Today
STL
DAL
1:00pm Today
DET
GBP
1:00pm Today
NYG
HOU
1:00pm Today
JAC
IND
1:00pm Today
NOS
MIN
1:00pm Today
NEP
OAK
1:00pm Today
BUF
SDC
1:00pm Today
CIN
TEN
1:00pm Today
PHI
WAS
4:05pm Today
ARI
SFX
4:25pm Today
SEA
DEN
4:25pm Today
MIA
KAN
8:30pm Tonight
CAR
PIT
Final
TOWSN 31
NCCU 20
 
Final
NCSU 42
PRES 0