For a team that’s struggling to score, the St. Louis Blues aren’t exactly the ideal opponent. But that’s exactly who the Minnesota Wild will get tonight at the Xcel Energy Center.
—- The Wild have lost four of their last five games. They’ve been shut out twice during that stretch, with just six total goals scored.
—- The Blues have won five straight, with goalie Brian Elliott posting back-to-back 1-0 shutouts in his last two outings.
As such, Minnesota coach Mike Yeo is preparing his team for a tough battle.
“They don’t give you anything for free,” Yeo said this morning, per the Star Tribune. “You’ve got to be committed to breaking them down, forcing them into mistakes.
“I think one thing we have to do a much better job of, that we haven’t done as much of lately, is funneling pucks and bodies to the net. When we were scoring goals, that was sort of our mentality.
“Quite often, when you haven’t scored as many goals, for whatever reason, you drift further and further away from the area where you do score those goals. That’s going to be something that’s very important tonight.”
The Wild’s mini-slump has dropped them six points back of Vancouver in the race for first place in the Northwest Division.
The Blues, meanwhile, can still get home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs if they can overtake San Jose and Los Angeles.
According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Raffi Torres has been suspended pending his disciplinary hearing with the league for his hit on Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.
Torres was assessed a match penalty for targeting Silfverberg’s head on Saturday night.
The 33-year-old missed all of last season with a knee injury, and it looks like the start of his regular season will be delayed once again.
Head coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have come back into the game, but he was held out for precautionary reasons.
Ducks center Ryan Kesler didn’t hide his feelings after the contest.
“(Torres) is the same player every year,” Kesler told reporters. “He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”
The Edmonton Oilers placed Ben Scrivens on waivers on Sunday.
Should he go unclaimed, the 29-year-old will be sent to the American Hockey League.
It looks like Edmonton will enter the regular season with Cam Talbot and Anders Nilsson as their goaltenders.
Scrivens was the team’s number one goalie last year, but his overall numbers were among the worst for starting goaltenders in the NHL.
He had a 15-26-11 record with a 3.16 goals-against-average and a .890 save percentage in 57 games last season.
Scrivens is scheduled to make $2.3 million in the final year of his contract.
If he does end up in the AHL, the Oilers will carry $1.35 million of dead money on the salary cap.
The move comes one day after Edmonton placed Nikita Nikitin on waivers.
The 29-year-old officially cleared on Sunday afternoon.