Blues visit Wild, aiming for 10th consecutive win
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The St. Louis Blues likely will turn to a rookie goaltender in their bid to match a franchise-record winning streak.
The red-hot Blues vie for their 10th victory in a row on Sunday afternoon when they conclude their three-game road trip versus the Minnesota Wild, who have dropped four in a row at home (0-2-2) and seven of eight overall (1-4-3).
Jordan Binnington has shown St. Louis the way by winning seven straight starts to match a franchise rookie record, set by Brent Johnson in 2000-01. The 25-year-old Binnington turned aside all 21 shots he faced in Thursday's 4-0 victory over Arizona to notch his third shutout of the season and improve to 11-1-1 with a 1.69 goals-against average and .931 save-percentage.
"He's playing unreal. It's really huge for our team. It's really amazing," said forward Vladimir Tarasenko, who has done quite well in his own right.
Tarasenko scored his team-leading 25th goal early in the third period of Saturday's 3-0 win over Colorado to extend his point streak to a career-high 11 games (10 goals, nine assists). The 27-year-old Russian has collected 21 points (10 goals, 11 assists) in 24 career encounters with Minnesota, including an assist on a goal by Ryan O'Reilly in a 5-1 setback on Nov. 3.
O'Reilly, who has club-best totals in assists (37) and points (58), returned the favor on Saturday by setting up Tarasenko to snap a scoreless tie at 4:01 of the third period. Zach Sanford tallied 57 seconds later, Jaden Schwartz added an empty-net goal and Jake Allen turned aside all 32 shots he faced to secure the second straight shutout for the Blues.
St. Louis' sizzling surge has it in third place in the Central Division, five points ahead of a reeling Minnesota squad that squandered a multi-goal lead for the second straight game in Friday's 5-4 overtime loss to New Jersey.
"They're finding their way in. It's frustrating," goaltender Devan Dubnyk said after yielding five goals for the second consecutive contest. "We probably deserved four points out of the last two games and we only got one. Got to find a way."
Although Dubnyk has started six straight games and 47 overall this season, coach Bruce Boudreau wasn't willing to commit to the 32-year-old heading into Sunday's clash.
"There are a whole lot of different things that I'm looking at," Boudreau told the St. Paul Pioneer Press after Saturday's practice. "We'll see what transpires tomorrow."
Dubnyk turned aside 44 of 47 shots in a pair of victories against the Blues in early November to improve to 11-13-2 in 26 career encounters with the club.
Should Dubnyk find a seat on the bench Sunday, Alex Stalock, a native of St. Paul, Minn., will see his first action since making 27 saves in a 4-3 overtime loss to Chicago on Feb. 2.
Mikael Granlund, tied for the club-lead with 34 assists, has scored two goals and set up two others on a three-game point streak. The 26-year-old Finn joined Zach Parise (club-leading 23 goals) with a tally in Minnesota's 3-2 win over St. Louis on Nov. 11.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 17, 2019
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Published: 2015-05-28 13:51:00
Updated: 2016-07-13 10:41:59
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