St. Louis (6-6-0) at Minnesota (6-3-3)

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By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN, STATS Senior Writer Saturday, Nov 5, 2011 Puck Drop: 8:00 pm EDT Sat Nov 5, 2011

The Minnesota Wild continue to get outstanding goaltending. Josh Harding(notes), not Niklas Backstrom(notes), will remain the starter for now.

Harding will make his fourth straight start - and look for his fourth straight win - Saturday night when the Wild host the St. Louis Blues.

Backstrom has been solid with a 2.30 goals-against average, but Harding has fueled this win streak with a 0.66 GAA during it. First-year coach Mike Yeo said he’ll stick with Harding against the Blues.

“We just think going into (Saturday’s) game, that’s the best decision for us,” Yeo said.

Harding is 4-2-0 with a 1.96 GAA in six career starts against St. Louis (6-6-0).

Minnesota (6-3-3) also has renewed confidence offensively. The Wild had scored two or fewer goals in eight straight games before Thursday’s 5-1 rout of Vancouver.

Yeo is trying to make sure his team remains intense - a message he relayed to his players during Friday’s practice.

“Because I thought some things came easy to us last game, I thought our guys worked very hard in practice but we were very loose,” Yeo said. “It could be a good thing, but it also could be a very bad thing.”

The Wild have killed 12 straight penalties during their win streak, and the Blues have converted an NHL-worst 7.9 percent of their power plays this season.

Minnesota went 3-1-0 against St. Louis last season, winning twice in shootouts and splitting two meetings at home. Cal Clutterbuck(notes), who has gone six straight games without a goal, scored three times in the 2010-11 series.

David Backes(notes), Patrik Berglund(notes) and Chris Stewart(notes) each had three goals for the Blues against Minnesota last season.

“The Blues have always been a hard-working team,” Wild right wing Pierre-Marc Bouchard(notes) said. “They got pretty good forwards who got skills, and it’s always some good battles against them.”

The Wild may be able to contain the Blues this time. Andy McDonald(notes) remains out with a concussion, and Stewart has gone nine straight games without a goal. He logged less than 12 minutes - a season low - in Friday’s 3-2 home win over the Canucks.

Backes, meanwhile, turned in his first multi-point effort of the season with a goal and an assist Friday while T.J. Oshie(notes) matched career bests with two goals and three points. Oshie totaled five points in the first 11 games.

“To get goals in this league, you’ve got to go to the tough areas,” Oshie said. “Long overdue. The first 10-11 games I’ve been a little too perimeter. In this league you have to go to tough areas to score goals.”

Brian Elliott(notes) improved to 5-1-0 with a 1.72 GAA after making 28 saves. Elliott has supplanted struggling Jaroslav Halak(notes) as the starter.

“He’s been great,” said center Alex Steen(notes) about Elliott. “He prepares very well, he’s very focused even when Jaro’s playing he’s extremely focused in getting ready.”

Halak is 0-1-2 with a 3.42 GAA in three career starts against the Wild while Elliott was pulled after yielding three goals in just over 13 minutes in his lone career appearance against Minnesota with Ottawa in 2009.

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