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Wild hope to fix home issues vs. Blues

Mar 21, 2015 - 3:03 PM ( - Should the Minnesota Wild hold on for a playoff spot, they will likely open the postseason on the road. That might not be a bad thing given the club's current struggles at home.

The Wild look to rebound at Xcel Energy Center on Saturday afternoon as they welcome the Central Division-leading St. Louis Blues.

Minnesota has only lost six games since Jan. 27 and all have been by a single goal. The Wild have won eight in a row on the road, but lost for the fourth time in their past six at home with Thursday's 3-2 setback to the Washington Capitals.

Defensemen Christian Folin and Jared Spurgeon scored for Minnesota and Devan Dubnyk gave up three goals on 27 shots faced in his 29th straight start for the Wild. Forward Thomas Vanek picked up an assist to give him four goals and three assists over a six-game point streak.

Wild head coach Mike Yeo said he thinks his team has deserved better fate in some of its recent home losses.

"It's a similar trend, even tonight, in all these games, it's a one-goal game and I find in a lot these games we're making kind of one big mistake," Yeo said. "There are a couple of breakdowns that we're making that we're not making on the road lately."

While seven points back of third place in the Central Division, the Wild do have a one-point edge over the Winnipeg Jets for the first wild card spot in the Western Conference with 11 games to play. The Jets, who are two points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference, host the Capitals on Saturday night.

The Blues are coming off a 2-1 shootout loss to the Jets on Thursday in yet another close game between the division foes.

St. Louis came into the game off back-to-back shutout wins over Dallas and Calgary, but yielded a game-tying goal with 6:42 left in the third period that snapped the club's shutout streak at 179 minutes and 32 seconds.

Brian Elliott ended with 33 saves, but was bested twice in the shootout. David Backes netted his 25th goal of the season and has three goals and three assists over his past four games.

Unable to hold off Winnipeg's late charge, St. Louis fell to 5-1-1 in its last seven games.

"You hope those are alarm bells going off in your head that they are getting way too close to putting one in. The reality is that I think we were on our heels way too much," Backes said. "They kept coming, coming, coming. They're able to bury one and then it goes to a shootout."

Still, St. Louis leads the division by two points over the Nashville Predators with a game in hand and is four points up on third-place Chicago. The Preds host the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, while the Blackhawks visit the Stars having played one fewer game than the Blues.

St. Louis will play the fourth contest of a six-game road trip today and is set to visit the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday.

The Blues and Wild split two meetings earlier this season, with each club winning on the road. St. Louis has taken 10 of the last 12 encounters overall and five of the previous six played in Minnesota.