The Wild were shellacked by the Stars just as Minnesota was feeling better about its efforts on the road. Tuesday night, the St. Louis Blues became the victim for revenge. Minnesota erased a 1-0 deficit just 45 seconds into the game with six consecutive goals to hand the Blues their 20th loss of the season.
Jaden Schwartz got the scoring early. It didn’t take long either, as the puck trickled through Devan Dubnyk’s pads enough for Schwartz to poke the puck over the goal line just 45 seconds into the game. For avenging a 6-1 loss, that was not a good start.
Then Nino Niederreiter evened the score at one. Just 1:17 after the Schwartz goal, good hockey boy got the benefit of a Gustav Olofsson shot hitting two posts landing right on his stick. Nino wasted no time to get the puck past Carter Hutton who looked like a pretzel after getting turned around with the puck caroms.
With the score tied, the teams traded shots as Dubnyk was forced to make a big save in the blue paint on Vladimir Tarasenko. Duby would stop 30 of the 32 shots he faced. That includes the heaviest of barrages from the Blues in the third period as St. Louis hurled 19 shots on goal in the period. Aside from the Schwartz goal, Dubnyk looked solid in net.
Minnesota would get a huge goal late in the first by Marcus Foligno. At first he looked like he wasted a potential 2-on-1 break when he pushed the puck to the left offensive corner with Daniel Winnik joining him. Winnik, instead, had to chase the puck down in the corner while Foligno stopped at the net. Winnik centered the puck, which Foligno had to glove down. As the puck bounced through Hutton and Foligno, Marcus just had to nudge the puck over the goal line with one hand on his stick.
The Wild weren’t done scoring in the first period. As they continued to mount pressure, Zach Parise forced old friend Kyle Brodziak to hold him for a penalty. They didn’t take long to make the Blues pay as Mikael Granlund entered the zone and left the puck for Mikko Koivu. Koivu skated to the slot and ripped a backhander over the blocker of Hutton for his 7th of the season. It was Koivu’s first goal in 11-games going back to January 4th.
The Blues tried to come out with more of a push for the second period. The zone time was there, but the Wild had a lead in shots at the start. Jason Zucker would score his career-high tying 22nd goal of the season with a beauty of a backhand shelf over Jake Allen. Jake Allen relieved Hutton at the start of the second period as Blues Head Coach Mike Yeo looked for answers to spark his team. A blocked shot caromed back all the way through the neutral zone as Zucker gave chase. Allen came out to play the puck and tried to clear the puck off the boards. Granlund intercepted the puck and gave it right back to Zucker down low. Allen lost his stick as he hesitated about a poke-check, and Zucker placed a backhander over Allen.
Jason Zucker’s night wasn’t done on the score sheet. After a Wild power play expired, Zucker got the puck in the slot. Instead of shooting from a prime location, Zucker passed over to the circle where Matt Dumba was cocked and ready to fire a one-timer. The puck slipped through Allen’s five-hole for the 5th goal of the night.
Only four Wild players ended the night having not registered a point; Tyler Ennis, Joel Eriksson Ek, Matt Cullen, and Charlie Coyle. Cullen, who had the night off in Dallas, was promoted to the third line, subjecting JEEK to the 4th line. Eriksson Ek looked awfully good in the games prior to Tuesday’s game, but was demoted nonetheless.
Jonas Brodin left the game with an apparent injury. I didn’t see the play, but it sounded like he got tangled up with Vladimir Sobotka and limped off the ice and didn’t return.
After the game, though, Bruce Boudreau said it was upper body for Brodin. I guess we’ll know more after practice tomorrow. Late in the third period, as the Blues were piling up shots, Nate Prosser took a Colton Parayko shot to the leg and went down in a heap. Dmitrij Jaskin scored on the play, and Prosser was helped to the locker room. Per Michael Russo of the The Athletic, it may just be one of those stingers that hit the right nerve making the lower leg go numb.
Eric Staal didn’t like that Zucker had tied him for the team lead in goals and got in on all the action for himself. Staal peeled the puck off the wall and sent a shot that deflected off a Blues skate and then the inside of another Blues player’s leg before going into the net. It would be Staal’s 23rd of the season.
Paul Stastny had a goal waved off for being played with a high stick. He tried to time the puck and bat it out of mid-air to get the Blues within three goals. While on the replay it looked awfully close, the officials did not reverse their call on the ice.
Down to 4 defensemen, the Wild got a much-needed two points in the standings. They now trail the Blues for third in the Central by 4 points. Dallas remains ahead of the Wild by three points, making that loss on Saturday all the more painful.
The Wild were 2-for-3 on the power play and managed just 20 shots on goal for the game. Tarasenko was kept off the score sheet and credited with just two shots on goal. The Wild penalty kill was a perfect 3-for-3 and gave up just 3 shots all game when short-handed.
The Blues were booed off the ice as they went into the locker room for the 2nd intermission. If there’s something Mike Yeo is good at, it’s having his teams get booed off the ice at home. The Wild will return home to face the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday. Check back with Hockey Wilderness as we’ll have all your coverage here leading up to, during, and after the game.