The Minnesota Wild defeated the St. Louis Blues 4-1 to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. They will faceoff against the Chicago Blackhawks next week.
It was all Wild in the game. The first blow to the Blues occurred on their power play. Zach Parise somehow shot the puck passed Jake Allen for his second goal in the series. The Blues appeared absolutely stunned as the fans at Xcel Energy Center leaped to their feet.
“You don’t expect to get a shorty but I saw an opportunity to get around Shattenkirk and got good body position and got a shot,” Parise exclaimed with a smile on his face. “I saw him go down early and he was kind of in that paddle-down position. I thought I was a little far out to hit a hole, but you just try to raise it a little and get lucky. Fortunately it went in.”
The Blues regrouped in the second period with more energy, but they could not get past Devan Dubnyk. The goalie was on point and kept his team in the game. Fontaine struck down any hope for the Blues with a goal eleven minutes into the period. That was all for Allen even though in the first period coach Ken Hitchcock said he had to stay with his veteran player. Blues star T.J. Oshie attempted to boost his team with a goal with only four seconds left in the game.
The momentum did not last at all. The Wild stopped the Blues as Parise scored his second goal of the game one-minute into the period. The Blues once again tried hard to penetrate Minnesota’s zone, but Dubnyk did not falter. He stood his ground and stopped all 12 shots he faced in the period.
“The story continues,” claimed Wild’s coach Mike Yeo. “That’s what we’re hoping for here, and I think there’s more to this story, but his play was outstanding. That team challenges you. They challenge you in a lot of different ways, get a lot of pucks to the net, and I think as much as anything, it’s sort of his demeanor that trickles through to the rest of the group.”
The Blues only scored 14 goals in the entire series and suffered their third consecutive elimination in the first round.
Next up for the Wild are the Blackhawks. If Dubnyk remains a beast, then the Blackhawks face a huge challenge.