ST. LOUIS — For the first time since their run to the Stanley Cup in 2019, the Blues are set for a more recognizable postseason. No COVID bubble, no capacity restrictions and lots of expectations.
First, they'll have to deal with the Minnesota Wild in the first round beginning on Monday.
So, here are some things you should know about the team from the "State of Hockey" before they tussle with the Blues in the first round.
The Blues owned the Wild this season
It's the playoffs, so regular-season records can just about be thrown out the window, but it is worth mentioning just how dominant the Blues have been over Minnesota in recent matchups.
The Blues went 3-0-0 against the Wild this season, outscoring them by nearly a goal-and-a-half per game.
There were some tough battles this year though. Two of the Blues' wins over Minnesota required overtime. The other game was the Winter Classic on New Year's Day at a freezing Target Field.
If you want to go back even further, the Blues were 6-1-1 against the Wild last season. So it's been an extended regular-season run of success for the Blues against Minnesota.
If you want to go even further, since Craig Berube took over, the Blues have a 13-1-2 record against the Wild.
The Wild have top-heavy scoring talent
Unlike the Blues, who spread their scoring stats out across their lines, the Wild are more top-heavy when it comes to the offensive threats.
The Blues had nine 20-goal scorers this season. The Wild had six.
However, those top options are some of the best in the league.
Kirill Kaprizov is the Wild's top star. He was fifth in the league in goals and points this season with 47 and 108 respectively.
Ryan Harman, Kevin Fiala, Joel Eriksson Ek, Mats Zuccarello and Marcus Foligno (who is expected to play through a knee injury), all pack a scoring punch.
The Wild have home-ice advantage
Both the Blues and Wild were incredibly hot down the last stretch of the regular season.
However, the Wild finished with four more points than the Blues to clinch home ice in this first round. So if it comes down to a game 5 or 7, the Wild will get those at home.
Here's how the entire schedule looks:
Monday, May 2 - St. Louis at Minnesota - 8:30 p.m. CT
Wednesday, May 4 - St. Louis at Minnesota - 8:30 p.m. CT
Friday, May 6 - Minnesota at St. Louis - 8:30 p.m. CT
Sunday, May 8 - Minnesota at St. Louis - 3:30 p.m. CT
Tuesday, May 10 - St. Louis at Minnesota - 8:30 p.m. CT
Thursday, May 12 - Minnesota at St. Louis - TBD
Game 7 (if necessary)
Saturday, May 14 - St. Louis at Minnesota - TBD
The Wild have some big-name goaltenders
After trading for three-time Stanley Cup winner Marc-Andre Fleury to pair with Cam Talbot during the season, the Wild have one of the most recognizable goalie tandems in the league.
Both have been getting starts down the stretch, but Talbot has not lost a game in regulation since March 1.
No matter who is in net, the Blues will be up against an experienced netminder.