Wild deflate after falling behind by a pair
The Minnesota Wild carried the play for the better part of 50 minutes.
However, the air came out of the sails when Andy McDonald slid the puck between the legs of Niklas Backstrom to give the St. Louis Blues a two-goal lead with nine minutes and 30 seconds remaining in the game.
The Blues (23-14-2) capitalized a pair of opportunities to finish with a 2-0 victory Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center.
The Wild (22-16-2) put pressure on Brian Elliott in the final minute, but were unable to avoid being shutout for the third time in four games.
"We're doing some good things," Jason Pominville said. "Our execution might not be where it needs to be. At the same time, we are playing teams that have been going really well. They've been on a roll. (The Blues) have won five or six in a row. So, they've been doing good things defensively. We can't use that as an excuse. We've got to find a way to create, whether it is on the power play or 5-on-5. We've got to get on board. It's been a few games we haven't"
The Wild made a pair of mistakes that led to the first goal by Roman Polak midway through the first period. The play started when Justin Falk had the puck taking from him from behind just outside the Wild blue line. As the play progressed, Mike Rupp and Tom Gilbert were caught watching the puck as Polak moved down the backdoor from his defensive position.
Falk was also part of the second goal as he got tied up with Vladimir Tarasenko in a battle for a loose puck in the face-off circle to Backstrom's right. Tarasenko was able to poke the puck back to McDonald for the short breakaway. The Wild had no back checker as McDonald went to his backhand.
The Wild finished the game without Norris Trophy candidate Ryan Suter. The reason for his absence was not disclosed or said by Mike Yeo in his post game press conference.
"We're confident he will be fine," he is all he said.
No. 3 – Vladimir Tarasenko. The Blues forward recorded an assist.
No. 2 – Roman Polak. The Blues defenseman scored a goal.
No. 1 – Brian Elliott. The Blues goaltender stopped 23 shots.
St. Louis……1 0 1 – 2
Minnesota…..0 0 0 – 0
First Period – 1, St. Louis, Polak 1 (Stewart, Porter), 10:37. Penalties – Jackman, StL (tripping), 13:04.
Second Period – None. Penalties – Pietrangelo, StL (tripping), 6:49; Falk, Min (cross checking), 17:53.
Third Period – 2, St. Louis, McDonald 5 (Tarasenko, Backes), 9:30. Penalties – Bouwmeester, StL (cross checking), 19:51.
Shots on goal – St. Louis 0-0-0 0. Minnesota 0-0-0 0.
Goalies – St. Louis, Elliott (23-23). Minnesota, Backstrom (18-20). A – 18,947. Referees – Francois St. Laurent, Stephen Walkom. Linesmen – David Brisebois, Mike Cvik.