St. Louis (14-8-0) at Minnesota (13-9-2)

Fair Currently: St. Paul, MN
Temp: 53° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Fri Nov 30, 2007
  • TV: FSMW, FSNO
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Just over four weeks ago, the St. Louis Blues defeated the Minnesota Wild to set the tone for a strong November.

The surging Blues look to wrap up this month with another victory over the Wild and match the franchise record for victories in November set 27 years ago when the teams meet at the Xcel Energy Center on Friday.

St. Louis (14-8-0) suffered a 3-1 home loss to the Wild on Oct. 20, but rebounded with a 3-2 win at Minnesota on Nov. 1. That victory snapped a six-game losing streak at the Xcel Energy Center.

The Blues lost three in a row following that win, but have won seven of eight since. With an 8-4-0 record this month, St. Louis is just one victory shy of tying the franchise record of wins in November set by the 1980-81 team that went 9-4-0 with one tie.

The Blues beat Buffalo 4-3 on Wednesday, rallying from two goals down in the third period to win their third straight.

Brad Boyes broke the tie with 58 seconds left, scoring his fifth goal in his last seven games. Boyes leads the Blues with 14 goals.

“We thought we were deserving of a win tonight,” St. Louis coach Andy Murray said. “We thought we were good all game even though we were trailing. We liked how we were playing.”

Manny Legace stopped 20 shots on Wednesday, improving to 5-1-0 with a 2.00 goals-against average since Nov. 13. Legace had 23 saves in the win over the Wild at the start of this month, and is 9-4-0 with a 2.76 GAA lifetime against them.

The Blues have not won two straight over Minnesota since March 2003.

The Wild (13-9-2) beat Phoenix 3-1 on Wednesday after defeating Nashville 4-3 last Saturday. Minnesota has not won three in a row since opening the season with five straight victories.

“We needed to come out here and kind of assert ourselves and keep a tight game, but send pucks to the net,” said Aaron Voros, who had two assists. “That’s what we were concentrating on this week in practice. Just get pucks to the net, no matter where from.”

Pavol Demitra returned to the Wild lineup after missing the previous nine games with a strained groin, and played out of position at center on a line with Mark Parrish and Marian Gaborik on the wings.

Demitra did not record a point, but Minnesota still improved to 9-1-1 in games he has played. The lone regulation loss came against St. Louis on Nov. 1, but Demitra finished with a goal and an assist in that game. Demitra played for the Blues from 1996-2004, and has 10 goals and seven assists in nine games against his former team.

Gaborik scored his fourth goal in four games on Wednesday, adding to his team lead of nine. He scored against the Blues earlier this month, and has seven goals and 13 assists during a 12-game point streak against them.

Niklas Backstrom made 21 saves against the Coyotes to continue his home dominance. Backstrom is 7-1-0 with a 1.50 GAA and two shutouts at home this season, and 21-2-4 with a 1.47 GAA and six shutouts all-time at the Xcel Energy Center. The Wild are 8-4-0 at home this season.

Backstrom has not made a start against the Blues this season, and is 2-1-0 with a 2.63 GAA against them in his career.

Minnesota backup goalie Josh Harding has started both games against St. Louis, but was placed on injured reserve Wednesday because of a head injury.

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Friday, Nov 30