Wild to put seven-game streak up against Blues

NHL Hockey

The last time the Minnesota Wild experienced defeat came more than two weeks ago against the St. Louis Blues.

Looking to extend their season-high winning streak to eight games Wednesday night, the host Wild try to avoid a third consecutive loss to a Blues’ team that is mired in its longest road skid of the season at five games.

It has been a remarkable run of late for the Wild (31-13-3, 65 points), who clinched their eighth playoff berth in nine seasons with Sunday’s 6-3 victory at San Jose. They have outscored their opponents 32-14 while going 7-0-0 since April 14.

The winning streak came on the heels of an embarrassing 9-1 defeat at St. Louis, followed the next day by a 3-2 overtime defeat to the Blues. Four days later, the winning rush was on.

Minnesota last won eight in a row during the 2016-17 season.

Now, the Wild — one point back of second-place Colorado and five behind West Division-leading Vegas — shift their focus to perhaps moving further up in the standings. They will meet the Blues (21-19-6, 48 points) three times in a span of four days.

“We can’t take our foot off the gas pedal, we can’t relax,” said forward Marcus Foligno, who has two goals with two assists in the last five games. “These next games leading into the playoffs, we’re gonna go 100 percent and make sure we’re fine-tuning our game.”

In addition to the three games this week, the Wild and Blues will close the regular season with two games at St. Louis on May 12 and 13.

The Blues have taken two of the first three meetings this season, but Minnesota won 2-0 at home on March 25, when Cam Talbot recorded 37 saves and rookie Kirill Kaprizov scored one of his team-leading 22 goals.

Kaprizov, a frontrunner for the Calder Trophy, has scored six goals over the last five games.

He’s just another challenge facing the Blues, who are one point ahead of Arizona for the fourth and final playoff spot in the West with three games in hand.

Although St. Louis enters having totaled nine goals during back-to-back home victories over Colorado, it’s been outscored 15-6 during the five-game road losing streak, all in regulation time. It is the club’s longest such slide since dropping seven consecutive games in regulation during the 2008-09 campaign.

“We’ve just got to keep pushing,” said forward David Perron, who had a goal with two assists in Monday’s 4-1 victory over the Avalanche and has 12 points over his last 12 games.

The Blues’ Ryan O’Reilly had three goals with three assists in the past two games against the Avalanche, and he has scored four times versus Minnesota this year.

Blues goalie Jordan Binnington has a 3.35 goals-against average while losing four straight road starts, but stopped 33-of-36 shots in splitting his two outings against the Wild in 2020-21. Backup Ville Husso last played April 10, when he made 28 saves in a 3-2 overtime home win over Minnesota.

Talbot has posted a 1.80 GAA and .943 save-percentage while winning his last five starts. Kaapo Kahkonen gave up all nine goals against the Blues on April 9 but has won his two starts since — both versus San Jose.

–Field Level Media

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