Like Ash in The Evil Dead, the Minnesota Wild barely escaped an onslaught from a team that's the stuff of nightmares. Devan Dubnyk's mistakes made last night's win over the Blackhawks a much more harrowing experience than necessary, and there was carnage as the Wild
were forced to cut off their own hand with a chainsaw lost Justin Fontaine to a knee-on-knee hit.
Tonight's sequel in this back-to-back features a St. Louis Blues team that looks less like an Army of Darkness and more like a rag-tag group of survivors left behind in the wake of supernatural destruction. The Blues are being plagued with injuries right now, having lost top offensive players in Jaden Schwartz and Paul Stastny, as well as many other contributors. The worst-case scenario for them has happened this morning, as the Blues lost their best player and Wild Killer.
Confirmed: Tarasenko will not play tonight. #stlblues— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) October 31, 2015
But before that makes you start thinking that the Blues are the protagonist of this game, remember that they still employ villainous sub-humans in David Backes and Steve Ott, and that this is the team that broke the Geneva Convention and unleashed biological weapons on the rest of the NHL last season. They're no heroes.
Wild fans should further recoil from their screens in horror at the sight of one of our own becoming infected... by them! In the off-season, Kyle Brodziak received some Mumps-Zombie hybrid virus (possibly as a result of getting bitten by Ryan Reaves) which caused him to sign with St. Louis and made him even less of an offensive threat than usual. His one point in 10 games must feel like a dreadful curse to the Blues' front office.
Jake Allen will start in net tonight after the Wild regularly tormented him last post-season. The Wild spooked Allen in Games 5 and 6 of last season's Western Conference Quarterfinals, scoring 6 goals on 32 shots in those deciding games. As for the Wild, Dubnyk's uninspired play last night will likely lead the Wild to start Darcy Kuemper in net. Kuemper has been Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for the last year now, either inspiring one to say "Hail to the Kuemperor, baby!", or petrifying Wild fans with soft goals.
The Wild are expected to roll more or less the same lines tonight, inserting a call-up (likely Jordan Schroeder) in place of Fontaine, and perhaps benching Nate Prosser for Christian Folin. We'll update you on the status of that, as well as the health status of the Blues' players as they become available.
Get your trick-or-treating done early tonight- the puck drops at 7:00 PM!