Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues Play Tag for Home Ice in Playoff Series

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We are five days away from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Minnesota Wild and the St. Louis Blues have been officially locked into a first-round series for about a week now, but we’ve known this was happening for the last two months. 

Wild and Blues Battle For Home Ice In Playoff Series

The Blues have had Minnesota’s number, going 13-1-2 against them since the arrival of head coach Craig Berube, and 3-0-0 this season. Minnesota will be looking for their first win against St. Louis since May 1, 2021, when they beat them 4-3 in overtime when the faceoff in Game 1 (TBD). The difference-maker in the entire series though will be… home ice.

The Wild and Blues were the first confirmed playoff series, now we wait to see who gets home ice. This series is going to be outstanding, the Wild have been one of the hottest teams in the league since the trade deadline, going 14-2-3. Meanwhile, the St. Louis Blues are also just as hot as the Wild right now, fresh off a 16-game point streak going 14-0-2, which ended in a 5-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night. The two teams have played very close games this season, while St. Louis is 3-0-0 in the season series, Minnesota is 0-1-2.

Games Played

The matchup has occurred three times in 2022, two games in St. Louis and one game in Minneapolis. Now, the Minnesota Wild play in St. Paul, the lone “home” game was the Winter Classic, in which the Blues beat a very injured Wild team 6-4… it was also the coldest game in NHL history. We won’t count that. 

On April 8th, the Wild and Blues faced off in St. Louis and it was a very competitive game. Pavel Buchnevich opened the game by scoring on the power play just about four minutes into the game. This was followed up by three straight Minnesota Wild goals by Kevin Fiala, Kirill Kaprizov, and Jacob Middleton, to make it 3-1. St. Louis stormed back with two goals by Justin Faulk and Brayden Schenn to tie it 3-3 and send it to overtime. About one minute into overtime, Vladimir Tarasenko set up Robert Thomas for the game-winner.

A week later on April 16th, they faced off again, in St. Louis. This time it was all Blues. Leading 4-1 going into the third period behind an explosive offensive attack. But, the Wild never back down. They lead the NHL with nine multi-goal comebacks and 24 comeback wins. The Wild get two quick goals by Ryan Hartman and Frederick Gaudreau to make it 4-3, then the Blues score again to make it 5-3. And of course, the Wild soon tie it up at 5-5. Overtime comes around, and Schenn wins it for St. Louis.

Who Gets Home Ice?

With three days remaining in the regular season, the Wild and Blues sit tied in the standings with 109 points. The Wild have two games remaining against the Calgary Flames and the Colorado Avalanche, while the Blues have one game left in the campaign, Friday night against the Vegas Golden Knights. The Wild need three points to clinch home ice at least, or one point if Vegas defeats St. Louis in regulation. If both teams end up tied in points, St. Louis wins the tiebreaker with more regulation wins, and the season series lead.

Importance of Home Ice

Home ice is crucially important in this series. The Blues went 2-0-0 at home against the Wild, and you could argue that maybe it doesn’t matter because they were three-on-three overtime wins when in the playoffs it’s continuous five-on-five. But a win is a win, the Wild couldn’t get it done in St. Louis. Now, the Wild lost their only “home” game against the Blues but it’s hard to count that against them due to the conditions of the game. The Minnesota Wild are 29-8-2 at home this season and 22-14-5 on the road. The St. Louis Blues are 26-9-5 at home, and 23-12-6 on the road this year.

This series could very well go to seven games, and whoever gets Game 7 at home could be the lucky winner. 

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