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St. Louis Blues At Minnesota Wild: Hitchcock Needs To Show He Can Win On The Road

So far new Blues' coach Ken Hitchcock's success has come at home. The tough team in Minnesota who always seem to have the Blues' number might have something else to say about that.

The Blues are a significantly better home than road team, as the last stretch of games showed. After finishing up a 4-0-1 home stretch, St. Louis' record is an impressive 7-1-1 at home, making the Scottrade Center one of the toughest places for opposition teams to play in the NHL. Unfortunately for the Blues, the Xcel Energey Center is also a tough arena to play in for opposition teams. The Minnesota Wild are 6-2-1 at home, and beat the Blues in their earlier meeting this season on November 5th 2-1. The Blues on the road are an underwhelming 3-6-0, and will be facing off against Josh Harding tonight - who is 5-2-0 against the Blues at home. It wouldn't be much better had the Wild started Niklas Backstrom; he's 6-2-0 against St. Louis in the past eight meetings.

It might seem that the odds are stacked against the Blues, but this isn't the same team that battled to a dull 2-1 loss earlier this month. The Blues've played a much more aggressive and overwhelming game under Hitchcock, and this might not work with the tight-trapping Wild, who enjoy getting a lead and then sitting on it. In their homestand, the Blues outscored opponents 14-5, allowing just two regulation goals to the Maple Leafs, and one apiece to the Detroit Red Wings and Florida Panthers. If the Wild think that they have a chance to score a goal and then lay back and relax, they have another thing coming.

The Blues will be going with an improving Jaroslav Halak tonight. He might be winless on the road so far this season and 0-2-2 all time against the Wild, but he's performed excellently under Hitchcock, blanking the Blackhawks, allowing just two regulation goals to the Maple Leafs, and one goal by the Florida Panthers. 

Blues' forward Chris Stewart will be serving his second game of a three-game suspension for a check from behind on the Red Wings' Niklas KronwallCarlo Colaiacovo did not make the trip - he left the game with a bruised hamstring on Thursday night and needs to be looked at by the training staff. Ian Cole will be paired with Alex Pietrangelo.