The Minnesota Wild defeated the St. Louis Blues 2-1 Saturday at Xcel Energy Center, but it wasn’t easy.

Despite playing a home contest Friday, the Blues (6-7-0) kept the pressure on the Wild over the final half of the third period.

The Wild took control of the game in the second period with a pair of goals.

Dany Heatley got the Wild on the board first with wrist shot off a pass from Mikko Koivu. Nate Prosser got the play started with a blocked shot, which led to a 2-on-1 break for Koivu and Heatley. He was rewarded with an assist.

“I didn’t know I got an assist,” Prosser said. “I saw the puck go in as I got to the bench.”

Guillaume Latendresse scored the eventual game-winning goal for his third on the year. After missing almost all of last season, Latendresse has started scoring again.

“I am supposed to score goals,” Latendresse said. “It was just a matter of time after the year off.”

In addition to scoring the goal, Latendresse contributed in several ways with his size and physical presence.

It was Latendresse’s pressure that created his scoring chance.

“He was a force tonight,” Mike Yeo said. “That’s what happens when you go for a straight line to the puck. He put stick on puck and created a turnover.”

Goaltender Josh Harding did not face many difficult shots, but saw a lot of rubber and improved to 4-0-1 on the season and sub-two goals against average.

“It is awesome,” Latendresse said about have Niklas Backstrom and Harding in net. “Not too many teams can say they have two No. 1 goaltenders. No matter who is in net, we need to play the same kind of game.”

The Wild (7-3-3) extended its winning to four games and moved to within one point of the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers played a late game Saturday in Phoenix.

Three Stars

No. 3 – Jaroslav Halak. The St. Louis goaltender made several very good saves in the second and third period to keep the Blues in the game.

No. 2 – Dany Heatley. The Wild forward scored the game’s first goal.

No. 1 – Guillaume Latendresse. The Wild forward scored the eventual game-winning goal.

Boxscore

Blues     0 0 1 – 1

Wild      0 2 0 – 2

       First Period – None. Penalties – Colaiacovo, STL (hooking), 11:54.

       Second Period – 1, Minnesota, Heatley 4 (Koivu, Prosser), 11:39. 2, Minnesota, Latendresse 3 (unassisted) 18:42. Penalties – Shattenkirk, STL (hooking), 10:05; Zidlicky, Min (holding), 10:36; Falk, Min (delay of game), 12:23; Powe, Min, major (fighting), 17:34; Nichol, STL, major (fighting), 17:34; Langenbrunner, STL (roughing), 19:06; Arnott, STL (roughing), 19:06; Polak, STL (roughing), 19:06; Johnson, Min (roughing), 19:06; Brodziak, Min (roughing), 19:06; Zidlicky, Min (roughing), 19:06.

       Third Period – 3, St. Louis, Langenbrunner 1 (Sobotka, Pietrangelo), 17:58. Penalties – Latendresse, Min (slashing), :03; Backes, STL double minor (cross checking); :03 (second penalty served by Reaves).

       Shots on goal – St. Louis 5-13-13 31. Minnesota 5-10-11 26.

       Goalies – St. Louis, Halak (24-26). Wild, Harding (30-31). A – 16,917. Referees – Tom Kowal, Mike Leggo. Linesmen – Darren Gibbs, Derek Nansen.