From the drop of the puck, there was an eerie feeling of collapse. Nothing connected if it came off a stick of a Minnesota Wild player, and the St. Louis Blues appeared to be cohesive and string plays together much too easily. There was a vibe and it eventually resulted in the Wild getting kicked out of the playoffs and ending their season with a 4-0 loss in Game 6, suffering a 4-2 series loss to the stinky Missouri team.
Through the first 15 minutes of the game, the Wild had two peak opportunities to open the scoring in the form of a couple power plays and just generally pressing St. Louis deep into their own zone. There were a few instances of the offensive cycle working, getting some decent scoring chances but nothing truly clear-cut.
Then, of course, Blues defenseman Nick Leddy scored the worst-looking goal against that Minnesota has suffered so far this series, as he just sent the puck right through Cam Talbot right after entering the zone off a solo rush. Not a good look.
Leddy used Dmitry Kulikov as a screen, weaving his way with four Wild skaters surrounding him, and fired a long-range shot to probably kill some time for the line change. Well, it just worked perfectly in their favor.
With the game-opening goal, it’s not just the fact that the Wild had essentially every player available to them within reaching distance to Leddy, but the way that Talbot was so easily beat on one of the first shots he has faced in the post-season. Just a huge chunk of disappointing play by everyone on the ice.
And that just continued on and on into the second period, as the Wild struggled to keep up with the Blues — making significant errors in every single zone on the ice and that led to them eventually being punished nine and a half minutes into the middle frame.
Ryan O’Reilly got the second goal for St. Louis on the power play after a tidy passing play from the offense.
It didn’t take long for the Blues to put this game out of reach and make the end result obvious. Just four minutes after doubling their lead, they made it three after Tyler Bozak scored a gritty goal in front of Talbot.
To put the nail in the proverbial coffin, again, Vlad Tarasenko adds to his series total and scored his fifth goal of the playoffs in the final minutes of the second period.
Forty minutes down and there was just nothing left in the Wild tank. As soon as Tarasenko scored, the broadcast was switched to a view of the Minnesota bench and there was nothing but sunken-in eyes, dead expressions, and heads hanging low. They couldn’t help but put their emotions on their sleeves as the realization that their 88-game effort is coming to an end in just 20 minutes of action.
And despite putting in enough of a last-ditch spurt of offense in the form of a goal from Matt Dumba, the dying game continued to die. Some powerplay opportunities sprinkled through the third period led to nothing, and the 6-on-5 chance with Talbot on the bench, only handed Colton Parayko a goal to finish the game by a score of 5-1.
Now, the Wild’s 2021-22 season is officially done. There will be loads of questions that need to be answered, but that is for another blog as we dive deep into another summer where this roster might see a significant enough turnover.
It was fun while it lasted.
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