Wild give up first goal, then rout Blues, 6-2

Sarah McLellan, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in Hockey

ST. LOUIS -- The silver lining to stumbling into a deficit so early was that it gave the Wild almost the entire game to rebound.

But the team didn't need that much time.

Instead, the rest of the first period was more than enough to flip a rough start into redemption via an eventual 6-2 rout Tuesday over the Blues in front of 17,821 at Scottrade Center that revealed the type of resiliency the Wild have been missing in recent road games.

Twelve players contributed to the parade of six unanswered goals -- which tied a season-high output -- and with goalie Devan Dubnyk nearly air-tight amid a 35-save performance, the Wild banked some much-needed momentum as the visitors after dropping two of their previous three road tests in dramatic fashion.

It looked like the Wild could have been in for a tough trek, though, based on the first minute of action.

Just 45 seconds after puck drop, the Blues scored when winger Jaden Schwartz poked in a puck Dubnyk couldn't hold onto after making the initial save.

Only three days earlier in Dallas, the Wild crumbled after surrendering the first goal in a 6-1 loss. They also fell behind early in the 6-3 letdown to the Penguins before the All-Star break.

But this time was different.

At 2:02, the Wild tied it after winger Nino Niederreiter pounced on a bouncing puck in front after defenseman Gustav Olofsson hit the crossbar.

Later in the period, the Wild surged ahead courtesy the fourth line.

Winger Daniel Winnik threw the puck to the front of the net from the corner, and winger Marcus Foligno was there to whack it by Blues goalie Carter Hutton.


Soon after, the Wild went on the power play and capitalized.

Captain Mikko Koivu cut to the middle and used a rising backhander to beat Hutton with 1:53 remaining in the first. It was Koivu's first goal in 12 games, and the unit converted for the ninth time in the last nine games.

The Wild tacked on another insurance marker in the second; goalie Jake Allen, who replaced Hutton after a five-save showing in the first, came out of his crease to direct the puck into the boards while winger Jason Zucker pursued it.

But winger Mikael Granlund gobbled up the loose puck and passed it off to Zucker, who lifted a backhand over Allen at 9:45 for his 22nd goal -- which tied center Eric Staal for the team lead and also matched the career-high Zucker established last season.

Before the period adjourned, the Wild recorded a fifth -- a shot from defenseman Matt Dumba that squeaked through Allen's five hole at 16:19. Allen ended up with eight saves. Zucker assisted on the goal, as did Koivu, and those two, along with Granlund, each finished with two points apiece.

So did center Eric Staal, who set up a sixth goal on the power play when his shot was deflected in front by winger Zach Parise at 5:05 of the third period. The Wild finished 2 for 3 with the man advantage, while the Blues were 0 for 3.

St. Louis did score once more, with 7:24 to go after winger Dmitrij Jaskin put in a loose puck that initially hit defenseman Nate Prosser en route to the net. Prosser had to be helped off, and the Wild finished the game with only four defensemen; Jonas Brodin left in the second after getting pinned along the boards by winger Vladimir Sobotka.

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