Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series tied 2-2

Game 1: Friday, October 23rd
Game 2: Saturday, December 26th
Game 3: Thursday, January 14th
Game 4: Sunday, March 14th

Blues 3

(17-15-5, 39 pts)

Wild 4

(19-16-3, 41 pts)

8:00 PM ET, December 26, 2009

Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, Minnesota

1 2 3 T
STL 0 1 23
MIN 1 0 34

G. Latendresse (Wild - LW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

M. Zidlicky (Wild - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

K. Johnsson (Wild - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Blues-Wild Preview


It seems all the St. Louis Blues needed to do to climb out of last place in the Western Conference was hit the road.

The Blues look to sweep a four-game road trip for the first time in franchise history Saturday night against the Minnesota Wild.

St. Louis (17-14-5) has had no home-ice advantage this season, posting an NHL-worst 6-11-2 record. Following a 6-3 loss to Tampa Bay on Dec. 18, the Blues knew they would have to get things turned around on the road, where they have the league's second-best mark at 11-3-3.

"We've been playing bad at home and we said to each other, 'We have to do something, this is not good enough." center Patrik Berglund said. "So, we went on this road trip with a whole new attitude."

After opening with a 3-1 win at Vancouver on Sunday, the Blues ripped Edmonton 7-2 on Monday followed by a 2-1 shootout victory over Calgary on Wednesday to complete the Western Canada sweep.

Berglund scored in regulation against the Flames, while Chris Mason made 23 saves and turned aside two shootout attempts.

St. Louis began this trip with a West-worst 33 points, but enters this contest tied with Minnesota for 11th in the conference.

"In these last few games, when we put our mind to it and play the way we're supposed to play, we've seen how we're successful," Mason said. "These three games in a row have probably been three of our best games of the season."

Mason and backup Ty Conklin have keyed the club's road dominance. Mason has posted a 2.21 goals-against average in winning his last three road starts, while Conklin is 4-1-0 with a 1.75 GAA and one shutout in his last five away from St. Louis.

Mason was in net for the Blues' only game of the season against Minnesota (16-16-3), stopping 20 shots in a 3-1 win on Oct. 23. David Perron, who leads St. Louis with 10 goals, scored and added an assist.

The Blues have won three straight over the Wild in St. Louis, but lost eight of the last 10 meetings in Minnesota.

Looking for their sixth win in seven games at the Xcel Energy Center, the Wild are coming off a 3-1 win over the Oilers on Wednesday.

Andrew Brunette ended an eight-game drought with his team-high 11th goal and Owen Nolan and Guillaume Latendresse also scored for Minnesota, which is 10-4-0 overall since Nov. 27.

Niklas Backstrom had another solid game between the pipes, stopping 30 shots to improve to 5-2-0 with a 1.71 GAA and one shutout in his last seven starts.

"He made some big saves at key times," Minnesota rookie coach Todd Richards said.

Backstrom made 23 saves against St. Louis in October, and has been in goal for each game of the Wild's losing streak in the series, recording a 3.41 GAA. He has fared much better at home versus the Blues, going 4-1-0 with a 1.20 GAA and one shutout lifetime.