With just nine goals during a franchise-worst seven-game losing streak, the Minnesota Wild have all but fallen out of playoff contention. A home-and-home series against the St. Louis Blues could help the Wild keep their fading postseason hopes alive.
Minnesota will try to snap its skid and win its fourth in a row in this matchup Saturday night at Xcel Energy Center.
Since being tied with Los Angeles for eighth in the Western Conference on March 8, the Wild gone 0-6-1 to drop to 11th - nine points back of eighth-place Anaheim.
“Maybe we’re not getting our head out and shooting to score,” center John Madden(notes) said following Tuesday’s 3-0 loss to Toronto. “We’re looking for rebounds and stuff, and that’s not the way you score a goal.”
The Wild have allowed the first goal each time during their skid and are 8-29-4 this season when trailing 1-0. They are 27-2-4 when scoring first.
The Wild have won both matchups with the Blues (33-32-9) this season - 5-4 in a shootout at St. Louis on Feb. 11 and 3-1 the following night in Minnesota - and are undefeated in the last four matchups in St. Paul since a 2-1 defeat Nov. 22, 2008.
The Blues, who host Minnesota on Tuesday night in the teams’ final meeting of the season, improved to 21-12-4 at home with Thursday’s 4-0 victory over league-worst Edmonton, but coach Davis Payne’s club is just 12-20-5 on the road.
Those struggles on opponents’ ice will likely keep the Blues out of the postseason for the second straight season and fifth time in six years, but the club still wants to finish its last eight games on a positive note.
St. Louis’ Jaroslav Halak(notes) could be in net Saturday after stopping 12 shots against the Oilers for his career-best sixth shutout and second in four starts. Halak is 0-1-1 with a 4.50 goals-against average versus the Wild this season after turning away 17 of 20 shots and getting replaced by Ty Conklin(notes) in the second period Feb. 12 in his first career start in St. Paul.
Minnesota is trying to avoid its first four-game home losing streak since an 0-2-2 skid from Jan. 4-20, 2007.