Minnesota Wild End Regular Season With Loss To St. Louis Blues


2. 98. Final. 4. 99

In a game that didn’t matter much, the Minnesota Wild let a few defensive breakdowns dictate play as the St. Louis Blues came away with a 4-2 Victory. Marco Scandella and Zach Parise added goals for the Wild.

Good Evening Minnesota Wild fans. With a loss in St. Louis, the Minnesota Wild’s regular season is over. Fundamentally speaking, this game didn’t really mean anything. A win would’ve been nice, but only would have given the Wild a chance to move in to 3rd if the Blackhawks lost (they did). In the end, this game served as a pseudo-preview for the playoffs, as the Wild will face the Blues in the opening round.

First Period:

No scoring in the first, but the Minnesota Wild dominated play, holding the Blues to just one shot on goal that came around the 10 minute mark.

Christian Folin, playing his first game in a couple of weeks while Jared Spurgeon and Ryan Suter rested, played a really great game, especially in the first. He hammered a huge shot from the point that Brian Elliott gobbled up and held.

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Marco Scandella accounted for 3 shots on goal and two of them turned in to juicy rebounds for Nino Niederreiter that he couldn’t put home.

From a defensive perspective, every player for the Wild stepped up in a big way, including Thomas Vanek and Zach Parise. Parise used a little extra effort on the back check to deny Vladimir Tarasenko around the 11 minute mark.

In the 13th minute, Mikael Granlund got a little too much speed built up as he headed towards the St. Louis net and crashed in to Elliott. Certainly not intentional, a few of the Blues took exception to Granlund’s maneuvers and started a scrum that ended with Matt Dumba and Dmitrij Jaskin taking offsetting minors for roughing.

Shots after one period: Minnesota Wild 7, St Louis Blues 1


Second Period:

If the first period was an example of how defensively sound the Wild can be, the second period was the polar opposite. Cooped up in its own end for much of the period, the Wild earned its first power play in the second minute after Jaskin tripped Matt Cooke… sort of. The Wild didn’t do much with the man advantage chance, save for a Jason Pominville tip-in that narrowly missed the net.

Dumba took his second penalty of the night in the 8th minute, sending St. Louis to its power play. The Wild killed the penalty, but it raises some concerns I’ll get to in Trembley’s Take.

Just after the halfway point of the game, Jaskin opened the scoring with a pretty passing play. After Chris Stewart couldn’t hold the offensive zone, Patrik Berglund joined Jaskin and Olli Jokinen breaking in to the offensive zone. Jaskin fed Jokinen with a little give and go to sneak past Scandella. Jokinen moved in to the slot and fed Jaskin, who buried a wrister past Devan Dubnyk to make it 1-0 Blues at 13:27 of the second period.

The Final two minutes of the middle frame turned in to a goalfest.

First, Valdimir Tarasenko and Alexander Steen forced an odd-man rush that ended with Tarasenko burying a high wrister over the shoulder of Dubnyk to make it 2-0 Blues at 18:00 of the second period.

Down by two goals, the Wild responded to cut the Blues’ lead in half. After an offensive zone face-off win, Cooke and Sean Begenheim beat the Blues along the boards and sent the puck to Erik Haula. The struggling center fed Scandella at the offensive blue line. Scandella fired a lightning fast wrister that beat Elliott cleanly to make it 2-1 Blues at 18:51 of the second period.

Unfortunately, just 41 seconds later, Jori Lehtera scored the eventual game winner. Unimpeded through the neutral and offensive zones, Lehtera redirected a pass from Steen to make it 3-1 Blues at 19:31 of the second period.

Shots After Two Periods: Minnesota Wild 14, St. Louis Blues 15

Third Period:

Darcy Kuemper started the 3rd period. End-of-season games remind me of pre-season games. They don’t necessarily matter that much, and the stars rest. Dubnyk wasn’t injured, they just wanted to give Kuemper some playing time.

Folin took a delay of game penalty in the 4th minute and Lehtera struck again to put this game out of reach. Lehtera stole the puck from Jonas Brodin and put home a quick shot that bounced off of Nate Prosser and in to the net to make it 4-1 Blues at 05:03 of the third period. 

The next 12 minutes of the game crawled by as both teams engaged in “do not get hurt” hockey. St. Louis has no problem throwing its respective weight around ans the Wild knows that, so they did well to avoid some of the heavier hits.

Jay Bouwmeester

put a heavy hit on

Jason Zucker

late in the 16th minute and went to the box for interference. Then, a minute later,

Robert Bortuzzo

cross-checked Zach Parise, generate about a minute of 5-on-3 followed by a standard power play to end regulation. The Wild also pulled Kuemper in favor of an extra skater. With the man advantage, Parise tallied his 33rd goal of the year. Thomas Vanek set up Granlund to enter the offensive zone down the left-wing wall. Granlund fed Parise, who snapped home a lightning fast shot to make it

4-2 Wild at 19:22 of the third period.

Beautiful goal by Parise, but the outcome remained the same, as the Wild fell in regulation.

Final Shots on Goal: Minnesota Wild 25, St. Louis Blues 23

Trembley’s Take:

Well, the Wild couldn’t complete its record-breaking road victory run, so they’ll have to settle for tied. That said, games like this just don’t matter. Sure, a win would’ve meant facing the Nashville Predators (Chicago lost in regulation last night,) but playing a safe game is important too. It was nice to see some of the top players on the squad take a night off and rest for the playoffs.

Parise finished the regular season as the Wild’s top producer in goals (33) and points (62) and tied with Brodin for +/- at +21. The leaders of this team produced in a huge way to keep the Wild afloat this season, and Parise is no exception.

Marco Scandella was the Wild’s standout player for me. He provided a ton of offense, was defensively sound, and finished his checks all night. He finished the season 1st among all Wild defensemen in goals (11) which is a career high.

With the Wild facing the Blues in the playoffs, discipline is going to be extremely important. I thought that Dumba’s second roughing penalty of the night was a bit foolish. The Wild seems to struggle sometimes with physical teams. It’s going to be very important for the Wild to stay focused and stay out of the penalty box against the big bad Blues during the opening round of the playoffs.

Talk to you this week sometime. Thanks for reading!!!

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