St. Louis Blues

Goalie nods: Wild give Dubnyk third straight start


All the latest from the blue paint…

Dubnyk looks to stay perfect

The Minnesota Wild will stick with Devan Dubnyk when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight at Xcel.

Dubnyk, who won his first two stars for the Wild since coming over in a trade from Arizona, began his time in Minnesota by shutting out Buffalo, then stopped 25 of 26 shots in a 3-1 win over his old Coyotes teammates Saturday.

With that win, Dubnyk continued what’s been a stellar bounce-back season and now sits at 11-5-2 on the year, with a 2.49 GAA and .921 save percentage.

For Columbus, Sergei Bobrovsky will start in goal.


‘Canes at Leafs: Anton Khudobin vs. Jonathan Bernier

Canucks at Panthers: Ryan Miller likely for Vancouver, Roberto Luongo likely for Florida.

Avs at Blues: Semyon Varlamov vs. Brian Elliott

Flames at Kings: Joni Ortio for Calgary, Jonathan Quick likely for L.A.

Devils at Sharks: Cory Schneider for New Jersey, Alex Stalock likely for San Jose.

Backes-Oshie-Steen line playing ‘terrific’ for red-hot Blues

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The St. Louis Blues are 6-0-1 in their last seven and have scored an impressive 33 goals over that stretch. A big reason for the offensive output? The play of the club’s top line, featuring T.J. Oshie, Alex Steen and team captain David Backes.

“They’re a terrific line when they play predictable to each other,” Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock said, per the Post-Dispatch. “The look faster when they play that way, they are faster, and you’ve got to have a real disciplined group of five to play against them because they’re willing to work for that one good chance and not give you very much in the meantime.

“My feeling is, with their work ethic, if they stay with it, it’s going to turn out fine.”

Combined, the trio has scored 49 points since being reunited 11 games ago. Steen is currently on a nine-game point streak, Backes has seven goals in his last six and Oshie 12 points in eight games in January. What’s frightening about this is none of them sit atop the Blues’ scoring board; the top two spots belong to Vladimir Tarasenko and Kevin Shattenkirk.

So it comes as no surprise, then, to see St. Louis sitting second in the NHL with 3.1 goals per game.

The Blues also boast the NHL’s top power play, something we wrote about last week. That, along with the recent offensive surge, are two things St. Louis will need to carry over to the postseason in order to avoid another early exit; against Chicago last spring, the Blues could only muster five goals over the final four games of their opening-round loss and their power play finished a woeful 2-for-29 for the series.

Part of avoiding a repeat will be the continued success between Backes, Steen and Oshie — a unit the captain hopes Hitchcock will keep in place.

“I think he realizes when we’re playing well, when we’re doing all the little things, it’s leading by example,” Backes explained. “The rest of the other guys seem to follow.”

Wild will just ‘deal with’ their ‘tricky’ three-goalie scenario


The Minnesota Wild — like the Calgary Flames — have three goalies on their active roster. And the St. Louis Blues soon may too, depending what Martin Brodeur decides.

While teams don’t generally like to carry three netminders, sometimes they just have to. In the Wild’s case, all they can do after Devan Dubnyk joined the team from Arizona is make the best of it.

“It’s an ongoing, day-by-day thing we’ll have to deal with,’’ coach Mike Yeo said, per the Star Tribune. “I think we were able to manage it fairly well [last season], and that’s going to be important again this year.

“It’s a little bit tricky in that you have to make sure the person who’s starting is getting the workload and preparation they need. And in a lot of ways, how you deal with the other two guys is going to be equally as important as far as their emotional state, making sure they’re ready in case they need to be called upon, and also making sure they’re getting the proper amount of work.”

As noted prior to the Dubnyk trade, the Wild’s two other goalies, Darcy Kuemper and Niklas Backstrom, would both require waivers in order to be sent to the AHL. The problem with the former is that he might get picked up. And while the latter would certainly not, he apparently has a no-move clause that makes it possible for him to block a demotion to Iowa.

Minnesota is a perfect 2-0-0 with Dubnyk between the pipes. While he admits, “I think you’d be lying if anybody said three goalies was good,” it sure beats losing with two goalies.

NHL on NBCSN: Avs try to slow down bustling Blues


NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign when the St. Louis Blues host the Colorado Avalanche at the Scottrade Center at 8:00 p.m. ET tonight. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game and pre-show online.

In the first five games of their seven-game homestand, the St. Louis Blues have been close to perfect. Meanwhile, the Colorado Avalanche have endured a frustrating five-game road trip that ends with tonight’s contest.

The Blues have been impressive just about any way you slice it since 2015 rolled around, really.

After dropping their first game of the new year, they’ve won six of their last seven. St. Louis has been grabbing victories in a variety ways, from strong goaltending (Brian Elliott shut out the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday) to frighteningly efficient work from their top two lines.

It’s enough that you have to label the Blues the favorite on Monday night, especially since St. Louis has taken three of four games from Colorado so far in 2014-15.

While the Avs only have one win in their last four (all on the road), two of those defeats came via shootouts.

They’re starting to enjoy better work from the likes of Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene while their goaltending has been mostly stellar since Semyon Varlamov came back from injury issues.

The Blues have some clear motivation in trying to catch the Nashville Predators for the top spot in the Central Division, yet the Avalanche have even more on the line. With 48 standings points in 46 games played, the Avalanche are currently three points behind the Calgary Flames for the West’s final playoff spot and are currently ranked 11th overall in the conference.

With the 2015 All-Star break approaching, these two teams try to soak up some key standings points, and you can watch it all on NBCSN tonight.

Goalie Nods: Dubnyk to face former team as Wild host Coyotes

All the latest from the blue paint…

Dubnyk gets a crack at his former team

After being dealt by Arizona to Minnesota on Wednesday, Devan Dubnyk will get a shot at his former team Saturday night when the Wild play host to the Coyotes. Dubnyk made 18 saves in a shutout win over the Buffalo Sabres Thursday – his Wild debut. The 28-year-old made 19 appearances for the Coyotes this season going 9-5-2 while posting a 2.72 G.A.A. and a .916 save percentage.

Mike Smith is expected to make the start for the Coyotes.


Blue Jackets at Bruins: Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Tuukka Rask

Maple Leafs at Blues: Jonathan Bernier vs. Brian Elliott

Oilers at Panthers: Viktor Fasth vs. Roberto Luongo

Avalanche at Lightning: Semyon Varlamov vs. Ben Bishop

Predators at Red Wings: Carter Hutton vs. Petr Mrazek

Hurricanes at Senators: Anton Khudobin vs. Craig Anderson

Islanders at Canadiens: Jaroslav Halak vs. Dustin Tokarski

Flyers at Sabres: Rob Zepp vs. Michal Neuvirth

Captials at Stars: Justin Peters vs. Kari Lehtonen

Ducks at Kings: Frederik Andersen vs. Jonathan Quick

Flames at Sharks: Joni Ortio vs. Antti Niemi