Stanley Cup Playoffs: Minnesota Wild Embarrassed By St. Louis Blues


99. Final. 1. 98. 6

The Minnesota Wild missed the opportunity to take a commanding lead in its opening round series with the St. Louis Blues, falling 6-1. Devan Dubnyk pulled from the crease after allowing 6 goals on just 17 shots.

Good morning, Minnesota Wild fans. For the first time this series, the Minnesota Wild looked loke a team that didn’t deserve to make the playoffs. Setting a franchise record for the most goals against in a playoff game, the Wild found themselves in a 6-1 deficit before the second period expired. Usually, I go through the game period by period and talk about great plays by the Wild; however, my blog would be empty if I did that. The Wild looked miserable at both ends of the ice.

Ryan Reaves, the quintessential bottom-6 agitator scored his first career playoff goal and point to open the scoring with a long bomb from the offensive blue line that trickled past Dubnyk and pulled the sound right out of the Xcel Energy Center. 1-0 Blues at 05:34 of the first period.

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Valdimir Tarasenko, who had a hat trick in game two but failed to register a shot on goal in game three, put the Blues up by a pair just a few minutes later with a great tip-in of a Kevin Shattenkirk shot. 2-0 Blues at 06:59 of the first period.

Nino Niederreiter took a penalty in the 7th minute that ensured the Wild would spend the entire first period in its own end, much to the making of the crowd.

By the 10th minute, Minnesota native David Backes had the Blues up by 3 with a goal mouth tip-in to make it 3-0 Blues at 10:06 of the first period.

Steve Ott’s penalty at the end of the first period gave the Wild a glimmer of hope. As the 2nd period opened, Jared Spurgeon buried home a wrister from the top of the left face-off circle that blasted over the right shoulder of Jake Allen to make it 3-1 Blues at 01:41 of the second period. The Wild now has 3 power play goals in 4 games this series, which is nice. Niederreiter and Mikael Granlund earned the assists.

Less than 2 minutes later, Paul Stastny put home his 1st goal of the playoffs to make it 4-1 Blues at 03:39 of the second period. With that goal, the crowd began to empty and the Wild looked thoroughly defeated.

Around the midway point of the game, Devan Dubnyk took an elbow to the head followed by a puck to the lower body an looked slow to recover. I think there was a sentiment that he should’ve been pulled after the 4th goal, but head coach Mike Yeo kept him in the game a bit longer.

The Blues continued to rack up points as if they were playing a video game set to easy. Tarasenko added his 2nd goal of the game with an insane one-handed move to make it

5-1 Blues at 15:47 of the second period.

A minute later, Patrik Berglund added one last goal to make it 6-1 Blues at 16:50 of the second period. With that, Dubnyk’s night was over and Darcy Kuemper came on in relief. Kuemper made 9 saves through the final 23-ish minutes of the game, but a empty crowd was not enthused as the Minnesota Wild suffered it’s most deflating defeat since acquiring Dubnyk.

Trembley’s Take:

So, what happened? Did the Minnesota Wild get too complacent after just one win? Is Devan Dubnyk coming back down to earth after an insane run? Are the Blues just that good? Well, I think the answer is a combination of all those things. After the game, Zach Parise, who was held without a shot on goal, said it best:

I don’t think we can blame this loss on Devan Dubnyk, either. The team played terribly in front of him and made his night pretty difficult. One of the biggest factors to his success has been the Wild’s lockdown defense, which just didn’t show up last night. Kuemper only had to make 9 saves, but he looked fine doing it. I do wonder if Dubnyk is hurt though, he’s taken a few tough hits this series.

Look, The great thing about the playoffs is that one game won’t break a team. The series is tied 2-2 and the Wild still has a legitimate chance at beating the Blues. St. Louis hadn’t won a road playoff game since 2012 before last night, and I don’t honestly believe that the Blues we saw last night are the Blues we’ll continue to see. At least I hope not.

Talk to you Friday unless there’s big news.

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