Wild vs. Blues Preview
St. Louis, MO (AP) - Despite lopsided victories in consecutive games, the St. Louis Blues still have little hope of reaching the postseason.
The Minnesota Wild's chances for a playoff berth have all but faded away during their longest losing streak in franchise history.
The Wild will try to avoid extending that skid to nine when they wrap up a home-and-home series Tuesday night with the Blues, who will likely play without center T.J. Oshie.
According to NHL odds and oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Blues -177 money line favorites for Tuesday's game against the Wild. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 76% of more than 63 bets for this game have been placed on the Wild +163.
After losing four of five, St. Louis beat Edmonton 4-0 at home Thursday before a 6-3 win in Minnesota two days later.
Chris Stewart broke a 2-all tie with the first of his team's four consecutive goals, and the Blues outshot the Wild 47-16 after posting a 30-12 advantage against the Oilers.
The victory pulled St. Louis (34-32-9) within a point of Minnesota (35-32-8) in the Western Conference, but the Blues are still 12th.
"We'll keep playing hard until the end of the season whether we're eliminated or not. There's a lot of pride in this room," said forward David Backes, who had a goal and an assist.
"Whether it's Game 7 of the playoffs or game 75 that really has no playoff implications, you're looking for guys that are putting it all out. We still have a pretty good group of 20 guys."
One of those guys, Oshie, did not show up for practice Monday and the Blues deemed it an unexcused absence. Coach Davis Payne said he would speak with general manager Doug Armstrong about possible discipline for Oshie, who had a goal and an assist against Edmonton.
Oshie will likely sit during St. Louis' attempt to earn its fourth victory in five home games. The Blues suspended Patrik Berglund for one game last season after he overslept and missed a practice.
The Wild tried to deal with their problems with a 30-minute, closed-door meeting following Saturday's game.
"I've said it before and there are probably questions out there, but there's character in the room. There's leadership in the room," said coach Todd Richards, who refused to say what was addressed.
One issue Richards could have touched on is how to get more scoring. The Wild have been outscored 37-12 during their 0-7-1 slide and 15-4 during a season-high four consecutive road defeats.
They fared much better in their previous trip to the Scottrade Center on Feb. 11, a 5-4 shootout win that snapped a four-game slide in St. Louis. Martin Havlat scored the tying goal with 57.6 seconds left in regulation and John Madden won it in the ninth round of the shootout.
Cal Clutterbuck had two goals in that game and scored again to help the Wild to a 3-1 win the next day and a sweep of the home-and-home set. Antti Miettinen has scored three times this season against St. Louis, including two goals Saturday.
Andrew Brunette had three assists in the loss, giving him eight points in his last four games versus the Blues.Berglund has scored in each of those contests.
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