While preseason games may not count for much, the Minnesota Wild are likely to walk into Enterprise Center with revenge on their mind. The Wild ended a fantastic regular season on a disappointing note after being beaten by the St. Louis Blues in the first round of the 2022 Playoffs. The Blues also had the Wild’s number during the 2021-22 regular season as they lost all three games against them.
The hope is that a preseason win for the Wild could swing the momentum in their favor heading into the 2022-23 season, as well as extend their active winning streak to five. After tonight, their two remaining games will be played at home in the Xcel Energy Center.
Minnesota Wild Projected Lines
With the last away game of the preseason and only nine days until the regular season opener, the Wild are going with an American Hockey League (AHL)-heavy roster tonight. This will likely be a lot of players’ last chance to earn their spot on the NHL roster, as the final two preseason games are expected to feature mostly NHL players.
Steel – Jost – Petan
Dewar – Rossi – Duhaime
Beckman – Shaw – Chaffee
Baddock – Fogarty – Swaney
Middleton – Addison
O’Rourke – Sustr
Lambos – Mermis
Gustavsson – Fleury
Wild fans are expected to get their first look at how new goaltender Filip Gustavsson can perform in a full 60-minute contest. He has looked solid so far but will likely be under fire as a very young Wild team takes on an almost complete Blues roster.
The trio of Connor Dewar, Marco Rossi, and Brandon Duhaime will be reunited after another solid performance against the Chicago Blackhawks on Dec. 2. This line has a strong possibility of being the fourth line for the Wild on opening night as they have shown consistent production, which should only increase as they develop more chemistry.
St. Louis Blues Projected Roster
The Blues are leaning towards a more veteran lineup tonight as they look to get back into the win column after dropping their last game to the Dallas Stars, which handed them their first loss of the preseason.
Saad – O’Reilly – Kyrou
Buchnevich – Thomas – Leivo
Neighbors – Schenn – Walker
Highmore – Acciari – Kostin
Leddy – Parayko
Krug – Faulk
Mikkola – Kessel
Binnington – Hofer
Captain Ryan O’Reilly will be centering the first line, and he looks like he is in midseason form with three points in his only game so far. Starting goaltender Jordan Binnington has been solid in the sections of the two games he has played in, producing a .931 save percentage, which he no doubt hopes to improve even further tonight with the potential to play the full 60 minutes.
Key Players to Watch
Minnesota Wild – Adam Beckman
Last year at this time everyone was praising Adam Beckman for being arguably the best player in training camp and preseason action. After almost making the NHL roster, and even being called up for three games (had one assist), he had an okay year in the AHL producing 34 points in 68 games. In fact, he was good enough that during the prospect development camp he was named one of the captains of “Team Beckman.”
Unfortunately, Beckman has gone completely under the radar so far this preseason with other players like Marco Rossi, Calen Addison, and Tyson Jost pushing hard to prove they are worthy of an NHL roster spot. He will have to come into this game against the Blues with fire in his eyes and really lay down an extraordinary performance if he wants any chance of cracking the NHL lineup this season. Should he be anything but exceptional he will likely be assigned to the Iowa Wild as their training camp started yesterday.
St. Louis Blues – Jordan Kyrou
If there was ever a single player that could take down an entire team it would be Jordan Kyrou, as he has consistently fed on the Wild like no other player in the NHL. His 12 points in ten regular season games over the last two years doesn’t even tell half the story of how deadly he can be, as he can singlehandedly shut down the Wild’s top lines, and then go on to beat their defense like he forgot it was supposed to be difficult.
If the Wild hope to ever beat the Blues on a regular basis, they need to figure out a way to shut down Kyrou, because with his new eight-year extension they will be seeing him for many years to come. The 24-year-old center has not yet produced any points this preseason, but don’t be surprised if he lights it up against the Wild tonight.
*Fans can catch the game on Bally Sports Midwest App or on KFan 100.3 FM @ 7:00 pm CT
Being from the east coast of Canada, I’ve grown up immersed in hockey since before I was old enough to walk. The Minnesota Wild joined the league right as I was trying to find a favourite team and I have been committed to them ever since. I like to take breaks from my day job of writing reports as a Scientist by writing articles about my hockey passion. Follow me on twitter @tysmck15 for my latest.