Minnesota Comes Out on Top

Minnesota (10-4-2) made a return to St. Louis. The Wild held a (5-4) road record coming into this one, and the Blues (6-5-3) were looking at (5-4-1) when hosting. Last Saturday, the Blues lost an ugly one to Minnesota with a final score of 5-1. St. Louis was only able to put 16 shots on net to the Wild’s 45.

The only other time St. Louis had been held to a single goal so far this season was the opener against Winnipeg. We’re used to seeing the Blues get on the score sheet, scoring 3.57 goals per game. In fact, the Blues have scored 4 or more goals in 9 of 14 games played, and in 6 of their last 7.

Since beating the Blues last Saturday, the Wild had lost to the Sharks 4-3 on Tuesday but then won 2 in a row in Los Angeles and Anaheim which were back to backs on Thursday and Friday. Minnesota had only allowed 1 goal in each of those 2 recent games.

Devan Dubnyk: (7-3-0, 2.15 GAA, .932 S%)

  • Minnesota: PK% 84.7 (4th) / PP% 18.9 (16th)
  • St. Louis: PK% 81.6 (12th) / PP% 28.6 (4th)

This was the last game of a 7 game homestand. The Blues had won 4 of 6 and certainly wanted to redeem themselves after the results of the last meeting. Both clubs had yesterday off.

Brayden Schenn practiced Saturday, but would not play in this game. In Schenn’s absence, Robert Thomas stepped up to play over 15 minutes for the first time in his career on Friday night against the Sharks. Thomas is getting more and more comfortable in this league each game.

Blues healthy scratch, Patrick Maroon would surely like to be playing and to be contributing to the score sheet. He’s surely a big piece on this club and I look forward to seeing his response when returning. Truthfully the Blues are just deep at forward, and lots of guys are performing well.

Zach Sanford came in and surprised. Robby Fabbri is healthy and driven. Oscar Sundqvist is making a case that he should play. Ivan Barbashev is consistent. Soshnikov needed to see some ice for the first game of the season, and then after a big win against San Jose, the Blues aren’t going to change much.

Here’s the Line-Up…

  • Schwartz, O’Reilly, Tarasenko
  • Fabbri, Thomas, Perron
  • Steen, Bozak, Soshnikov
  • Sanford, Barbashev, Sundqvist

  • Gunnarsson, Pietrangelo
  • Dunn, Parayko
  • Edmundson, Schmaltz

  • Chad Johnson (2-2, 1.83 GAA, .941 S%)

1st Period

Just 44 seconds into the game, Jared Spurgeon was called for slashing Schwartz to give the Blues the first Power Play of the game. We saw chances for Thomas, Perron, Tarasenko, and O’Reilly. Tyler Bozak had a great opportunity as well on a solid feed from Schwartz to the slot but the puck went over the net. St. Louis put 4 shots on goal during the Power Play.

Chances were slim for both clubs after that with strong defense being played by both sides to break up plays. Overall, the Blues looked to be very alert and ready for this game. Minnesota hadn’t seen a quality chance as of yet.

Midway through the 1st, shots were 6-5 in favor of the Blues, however, St. Louis had let quite a few shots go to get a good grip on this game. They just weren’t making it to the net.

Chad Johnson made his best save of the 1st period when Granlund received a short pass from Eric Staal for what should have been an easy goal. It wasn’t a beautiful save by any means but we’ll take it. Erik Fehr was able to get close, but the Blues had some help from the post.

Who other than Oskar Sundqvist to kick things off? He scores his 3rd of the season on a feed from Barbashev. Oskar did a great job getting the puck to an open Ivan Barbashev near the right corner. Sundqvist went straight to the slot and made no mistake.

St. Louis was able to win the majority of the faceoffs throughout the first 12 minutes or so, at one point it was 60%-40% in favor of the Blues, but by the end of the period, the Wild had balanced that out to 50%. (These teams split the draws in half in the last game as well.)

This was back and forth, and the story of the period is Minnesota blocked 11 shots. They were putting their sticks on everything. The Blues didn’t give the puck away at all in the first period.

Great to see Oskar get on the board again.

2nd Period

Zach Parise was able to capitalize on a puck that bounced off of Johnson’s crossbar. Niederreiter shot the puck and it bounced to the right, in front of the net, where Parise scored with a bit of a spinning backhand to tie the game.

That’s Parise’s 7th goal of the season and sets him at a point per game.

25 seconds later, Joel Eriksson Ek scored on Chad Johnson’s wide open net to give Minnesota the 2-1 lead. Jordan Greenway took the initial shot, and the rebound was there for the taking. Charlie Coyle also registered an assist on the play.

Just past the halfway mark of this frame, Alex Pietrangelo was able slap one past Devan Dubnyk to tie it up with his 3rd goal of the season and 2nd in his last 2 games. Jaden Schwartz with a helper on that play feeding the puck over the blueline, across ice to the captain. O’Reilly also tallied his 13th assist of the season on the play which improved his current point streak to 10 games.

Great to see Jaden Schwartz get the apple after a strong performance in his last game (1 goal & 1 assist).

With 7:13 remaining in the 2nd period, David Perron was held by Mikko Koivu. The Blues went on their second Power Play of the game. St. Louis was then able to put 2 shots on goal throughout this man-advantage.

Shots on goal were 6-10 in favor of the Blues for the 2nd period. At this point, draws still an even 50%.

Minnesota wasn’t receiving prime opportunities, but they continued to work hard and block as many shots as possible (7 in the second). The Blues had played a well-disciplined game, taking zero penalties thus far.

3rd Period

Just over a minute into the final frame, Colton Parayko was called for interference on Jordan Greenway. The Wild went on their first Power Play of the game. Minnesota was unable to register a shot on goal with the man-advantage.

Nearly 8 minutes through the 3rd, Mikael Granlund scored to give the Wild a 3-2 lead with a wrister through traffic as Colton Parayko may have been screening Chad Johnson. Chad was beat high on the glove side, and to me, it didn’t look like he could see the puck.

This was a result of a defensive error. Parayko had a chance to attempt at clearing the puck moments before, but did not do so.

David Perron and Nick Seeler received matching minors for roughing. We saw a lot of back and forth play. There weren’t many quality scoring opportunities for both clubs.

Perron would see the box again later on a slashing call also involving Nick Seeler. The Blues killed the penalty off, and would eventually pull Chad Johnson for the extra attacker. St. Louis saw some good looks to close it out but would not capitalize.

Devan Dubnyk saved 29 of 31 tonight and the Wild blocked a total of 23 shots. That was the difference.

St. Louis held Minnesota to just 4 shots in the third period, 6 in the second, and 8 in the first.

It was a good effort, but Minnesota played their game and came out on top. I thought Chad Johnson played well. I thought the Blues played well. Just an unfortunate turnout with this one.


The Blues really tried to throw everything they could at the net with 63 shot attempts. Minnesota, on the other hand, attempted to shoot the puck 33 times and only reached the net on 18 of those attempts. St. Louis dished out 17 hits to Minnesota’s 24. This game could have gone either way.

One defensive error by the Blues in their defensive zone leads to a goal scored through traffic. That’s one that Chad Johnson simply could not see, and well, the shot should have never been taken.

Another defensive error leads to an odd-man rush resulting in a goal against. Sometimes this happens even when you’re playing well.

Add a nice bounce off the crossbar for Parise to cash in on, and you have yourselves a Minnesota Wild win due to the Wild’s commitment to blocking shots.

Overall, a strong game by the Blues, but Minnesota was opportunistic, and they kept at their game plan. Plenty of positives to take from this game, but unfortunately zero points.

Thanks for reading, Blues fans.


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