Game Report: Wild 3, Blues 1

By Nicholas Hand

A lackluster second period doomed the Blues to a loss to the Wild on Sunday night in St. Paul, Minn.

Matt Dumba and Nino Niederreiter scored in the first half of the period, which proved to be all the offense the Wild needed thanks to 22 saves from Devan Dubnyk. Vladimir Tarasenko scored the Blues only goal and Jake Allen took the loss, allowing two goals on 24 shots. The Wild also scored an empty-net goal after Allen was pulled in favor of an extra attacker.

A spirited first period failed to produce any goals despite the Blues throwing 11 shots on goal against Dubnyk, including several scoring chances.

The highlight of the period was a heavyweight bout between Ryan Reaves and Minnesota’s Kurtis Gabriel at 14:16.

The scoring picked up in the second period with the Wild striking first just 56 second into the period on Dumba’s fourth of the season.

The Wild caught the Blues on the first line change of the period and Dumba entered the offensive zone and snapped a shot high over Allen’s stick side. Zach Parise assisted on the goal.

The goal shifted the momentum of the game as the Wild then began to control the play in the period.

Minnesota increased the lead to 2-0 with a Niederreiter goal at 7:49 as he spun in the slot and fired a low shot that beat Allen with traffic in front.

The Blues were outshot 9-6 in the middle frame but momentum shifted again on a great individual effort by Robby Fabbri, who set up Tarasenko’s 14th goal of the season. Brad Hunt also assisted on the goal.

Fabbri entered the offensive zone alone but created time and space before finding a streaking Tarasenko across the ice and he was able to fire a wrist shot past Dubnyk and just inside the post with 4:12 remaining in the period.

The Blues faced a one-goal deficit entering the third period and came out flat despite starting with a power play.

Allen robbed Parise on a point blank chance after the Wild killed off the man advantage keeping the Blues within one.

The Blues came close to falling behind by two goals for the second time with 12:10 left in regulation but the referee ruled that Minnesota’s Mikko Koivu pushed Allen into the net with the puck.

The Blues pulled Allen for an extra attacker with a minute remaining but after losing the puck, Nate Prosser sent a pass to Mikael Granlund who gained the red line and put the puck into the empty net to seal a 3-1 victory for the Wild. Eric Stall also assisted on the empty net goal.

Of Note:
Stall’s assist marked the 800th point of his NHL career… Hunt’s assist on Tarasenko’s goal was his second consecutive game with a point in just his second game with the Blues… Fabbri and Tarasenko each have a three-game point streak… Defenseman Carl Gunnarsson remains sidelined with a lower-body injury sustained on Thursday night in New York.

Looking Ahead:
The Blues travel to Nashville on Tuesday night to conclude a four-game trip before returning home on Thursday night.