The Minnesota Wild had the opportunity to take a commanding lead in their first round playoff series against the St. Louis Blues Wednesday at the Xcel Energy Center. Instead, they played flat and were blown out 6-1.
The Wild did nothing right from the goaltender out from the moment the puck dropped. Devan Dubnyk couldn’t stop the puck. The defensemen couldn’t clear the front of the net, start a breakout or stop a rush. The forwards couldn’t get out of the defensive zone or keep the puck in the offensive zone.
“We were brutal,” Zach Parise said. “It was just a bad game by us. We couldn’t really get through the neutral zone clean. We were slow, I thought, jumping on pucks in our own zone. We couldn’t get out clean after that. It was just not a very good game. Top to bottom.”
The Blues (2-2) were in complete control of the game. They got to the middle of the ice and won almost every battle while the Wild seemed to be fighting the puck with stickhandle or pass.
Dubnyk was pulled after the Blues a 6-1 lead late in the second period. Dubnyk was not on his game. He gave up a long shot from the point from a fourth line player, left a rebound sit under his pad, allowed a shot off the rush get between his legs and a backhand from the top of the crease.
“Good,” Mikko Koivu said about how he feels Dubnyk will respond in Game 5. “No doubt about that.”
Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock was very arrogant after the game about his team’s play. Almost like he knew something no one else did.
“This is our game, it’s not our best game,” he said when asked he thought this was their best game. “We can play a lot better than we played today. We’ve still got things to work, but this is our game.”
The Wild (2-2) avoided getting shutout and swung a little momentum in their favor one minute and 41 seconds into the second period with a power play goal by Jared Spurgeon. The defenseman rifled a wrist shot off the back crossbar and out with 10 seconds remaining on the man advantage.
No. 3 – David Backes. The Blues forward had a goal and an assist.
No. 2 – Vladimir Tarasenko. The Blues forward scored two goals.
No. 1 – Kevin Shattenkirk. The Blues defenseman recorded three assists.
St. Louis………3 3 0 – 6
Minnesota….…0 1 0 – 1
First Period – 1, St. Louis, Reaves 1 (Pietrangelo, Porter), 5:32. 2, St. Louis, Tarasenko 4 (Shattenkirk, Backes), 6:59. 3, St. Louis, Backes 1 (Shattenkirk, Oshie), 10:06. Penalties – Niederreiter, MIN (hooking), 7:46; Ott, STL (high sticking), 19:49.
Second Period – 4, Minnesota, Spurgeon 1 (Niederreiter, Granlund), 1:41 (pp). 5, St. Louis, Stastny 1 (Berglund, Jaskin), 3:39. 6, St. Louis, Tarasenko 5 (Lehtera, Shattenkirk), 15:47. 7, St. Louis, Berglund 2 (unassisted), 16:50. Penalties – Zucker, MIN (roughing), 10:08.
Third Period – None. Penalties – None.
Overtime – None. Penalties – None.
Shots on goal – St. Louis 10-8-8 26. Minnesota 4-6-8 18.
Goalies – St. Louis, Allen (17-18). Minnesota, Dubnyk (11-17), Kuemper (9-9). Referees – Eric Furlatt, Gord Dwyer. Linesmen – Jay Sharrers, Darren Gibbs.