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St. Louis Blues vs Minnesota Wild First Round Playoff Preview

Updated on April 15, 2015
First Game is on Thursday April 16, 2015 at 8:30 CT
First Game is on Thursday April 16, 2015 at 8:30 CT

St. Louis Blues vs Minnesota Wild

These two teams are Central Division rivals, and battled each other four times this season. The Blues lost the regular season series going 1-2-1 against the Wild. The St. Louis Blues were able to win the Central Division to secure home ice advantage in the first-round of the playoffs. Which is huge for them because they have a home ice record of 27-12-2. The Minnesota Wild have a away record of 24-15-2. So this looks to be a very tough and competitive series for the St. Louis Blues. First we will take a look at the key players for the Blues, and I will give my analysis on how I think the Blues will win this first-round playoff series.

St. Louis Blues vs Minnesota Wild Regular season series

GP
W
L
OT
SHOTS
GF
GA
PP
PK
FO W-L
4
1
2
1
120-110
11
13
3-10
3-15
117-110
St. Louis Blues Stat Record vs Minnesota Wild

The Key to the Blues Winning this series

While scoring goals is always important, the key to the Blues winning this series is going to be on the goal tending. It was announced that Jake Allen will get the start over fellow goalie Brian Elliott. Jake Allen has been on a roll as of late. Even though Brian Elliott has playoff experience, he did struggle down the stretch of the regular season forcing Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock to make a move.

JAKE ALLEN

Can Jake Allen stay hot through the playoffs?

After a team practice on Wednesday in St. Louis, Head Coach Ken Hitchcock made the decision to have Jake Allen start Game 1 this Thursday night. Jake Allen finished the season with eight consecutive games only giving up two goals or fewer. In the month of April, he went 3-1-0 and leading the league with a 1.01 goals against average. Allen was the key in the Blues 2-1 victories over the heated rival Chicago Blackhawks to clinch the Central Division Championship. Ken Hitchcock was asked about the decision to start Jake Allen Game 1.

“It’s a decision we couldn’t be wrong with, to be honest with you,” Hitchcock said. “Jake has gotten really hot down the stretch, which was really good for us because we needed it, but just his overall development, and then the way he played in the last month, we wanted to give him a chance to go in the playoffs.”

Jake Allen was asked how he felt about starting in his first Stanley Cup Playoff game, this is what he had to say.

“It was a pretty cool feeling to be honest,” he said. “I definitely wouldn’t think I’d be starting Game 1 at the start of the year. It’s been a whirlwind year for me and took five years to get to this point. It’s paying off.

Jake Allen also talked about what he has learned up to this point.

“I’ve learned a lot, I’ve watched a lot,” Allen added. “I’ve been around people and associated with people that will pay off. Some guys have a lot more playoff experience than I do, but (there’s) a lot of big games I’ve played in, and I’ve felt every single game for me in the NHL is a big game. I’ve played Minnesota a couple times, so I feel familiar with them now and it should be fun.”

Hopefully Jake Allen can start this playoff run the way he ended the regular season and lead this team to the next round.

Jake Allen Season Stats

GPI
GS
MIN
GAA
W
L
OT
SO
SA
GA
SV%
37
32
2077
2.28
22
7
4
4
909
79
.913

Players that could have a major impact on this series.

The are a few guys on this team that I believe could have a major impact on this series from a scoring standpoint. I believe these are the guys that need to take their game to the next level throughout all of the playoffs to give this team and this city it's first Stanley Cup Championship.

PAUL STASTNY

Blues Center Paul Stastny
Blues Center Paul Stastny

While he did not meet expectation in the regular season, I think this is why the Blues decided to sign Stastny as a free agent. Stastny struggles this season at one point got him demoted to the third and fourth lines on the team. Stastny later in the regular season got more comfortable and starting playing a lot better down the stretch. He has played in 22 playoff games, 8 goals, 10 assists, bringing that to a total of 18 points in the playoffs. Look for Stastny to step up his play and become the playmaking center he was when he played for the Avalanche. If he does that, he may become the MVP for this team in the playoffs.

Do you believe the Blues will win the Stanley Cup Championship this year?

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ALEXANDER STEEN

Blues Left Winger, Assistant Captain Alexander Steen
Blues Left Winger, Assistant Captain Alexander Steen

Alexander Steen is another guy that needs to play a major part. Steen had a pretty nice season, playing 74 games, 24 goals, 40 assist, coming to 64 points. Steen is one of the leaders of this team. Near the end of the season, Steen had a lower body injury that kept him out until the last game of the season. Now Steen is healthy and ready to go.

VLADIMIR TARASENKO

Vladimir Tarasenko is the guy I think everybody is going to look out for in the playoffs. This young talent has yet to hit his sealing and he is getting better game after game. He leads the team with 73 points and leads the team in goals with 37. Tarasenko is 5th in the league in goals scored and 10th in the league in points. There is no doubt he is the Blues sniper, and he will have a major impact in the Blues going deep into the playoffs.

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