Blues-Wild Preview

The Associated Press

The St. Louis Blues haven't slowed down despite playing without their top two goal scorers. They may be able to get by again Tuesday night when they visit a Minnesota Wild team that will be looking to avoid six straight regulation losses for the first time in franchise history.

St. Louis (26-7-5) hasn't had leading goal scorer Alexander Steen on the ice since Dec. 21 at Edmonton because of a concussion, and David Backes sat out Sunday's 3-2 overtime win in Dallas because of an upper-body injury.

Steen has scored 24 goals and Backes 16, but the Blues haven't had trouble putting the puck in the net lately. They scored six times against the Oilers despite Steen leaving the game and beat Chicago 6-5 in a shootout Saturday.

St. Louis is 2-0-1 in the three games without Steen, part of a 7-1-2 stretch since Dec. 10.

The Blues trailed the Blackhawks by two before scoring twice in the last 3:51 of regulation to extend the game, and Kevin Shattenkirk's power-play goal with 11 seconds left in OT gave St. Louis the victory over the Stars.

"Yeah, I think we're happy with getting four points out of four," left wing Jaden Schwartz, who has scored in each of the last five games, told the team's official website. "Pretty gutsy wins by us, a nice comeback win last night and kind of a character win for us tonight. So it's definitely nice getting that extra point both nights."

St. Louis, which is 12-0-1 against Central Division opponents, got 28 saves from Brian Elliott on Sunday. Elliott, who took over for an ineffective Jaroslav Halak after the first period against the Blackhawks, is 5-0-1 with a 1.77 goals-against average this month.

The Blues did get forward Vladimir Sobotka back Sunday after he missed two weeks with an upper-body injury. He had two assists, including one on Shattenkirk's winner.

"(Sobotka) is a player that you can rely on in every situation. He's just a great player all around," said Schwartz, who has taken Steen's spot on the top line. "It was a big jump for us and a big positive leap getting him back in the lineup."

Steen scored twice, Sobotka added a goal and Halak stopped 22 shots as St. Louis beat the visiting Wild 3-0 on Nov. 25 for its sixth straight win in the series.

Minnesota (20-16-5) enters this matchup on a five-game losing streak after blowing a three-goal lead and falling 5-4 at home to the New York Islanders on Sunday. The Wild have allowed 24 goals during the skid and are 3-8-0 in their last 11 games.

"It was there for us. That's the disturbing part," coach Mike Yeo said. "It's hard to find the words for this because this is beyond disturbing right now. We have to find a way to win that game. You're up 3-0 and you're at home. There's no excuses."

Minnesota hasn't lost six in a row overall since an 0-5-2 slide Feb. 4-18, 2012.

"There's a lot that's between the ears right now that we have to fix," Yeo said.

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