The St. Louis Blues couldn’t generate much of anything, just 17 shots on goal on Devan Dubnyk by the end of Monday’s game, and now trail the Minnesota Wild 2-1 in their opening-round series.
That led to plenty of frustration from the Blues after losing to the Wild and having trouble with Minnesota’s team speed in Game 3.
“They’re a team that’s going to be there from the start to the finish. They battle, every single line,” said goalie Jake Allen, as per a video on the Blues’ website.
“I think we’ve got to realize that now and we can’t let the ball slip anymore. That’s the way they play, one of the best teams in the league since Christmas. They had a slow start to the year but since Christmas, they’ve probably been one of the top one or two teams in the league. We’ve got our work cut out for us. We’ve dug ourselves a hole and now it’s time to get out of it.”
At the other end of the rink, Dubnyk didn’t see many pucks his way, but he stopped every shot he faced for his first playoff shutout.
The Wild struck quickly with a pair of goals from Jason Pominville and Zach Parise just 2:05 apart in the second period, taking the lead and they wouldn’t give it up.
“I’ve seen some pretty incredible performances here at home by us,” Dubnyk told the Pioneer Press. “And this ranks right up there with them. There just weren’t any mistakes.”
How quickly things can change in playoff hockey.
The Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues were involved in a tight, scoreless hockey game late in the second period before the host team suddenly took control on the score board. The Wild would eventually earn a 3-0 victory over the Blues to take a 2-1 series lead.
First it was Jason Pominville who got the Wild on the board, tapping the puck into a wide open net on a terrific feed in front. Just over two minutes later, Zach Parise gave Minny a two-goal lead with his first goal of the series, as he found a loose puck amongst a multitude of skates and snapped his shot top corner on Jake Allen.
The trio of Pominville, Parise and Mikael Granlund combined for six points.
That’s all the scoring the Wild would need. Minnesota put on a smothering defensive clinic, allowing just 17 shots on goalie Devan Dubnyk all night.
Dubnyk, who was critical of himself after making a mistake on the Blues’ second goal in Game 2, didn’t allow anything, either. He stopped all 17 shots he faced to record his first career Stanley Cup playoff shutout.
The St. Louis Blues made a game of it, but will lament a slow start in their loss to the Minnesota Wild in Game 1 of their first-round series on Thursday.
It wasn’t until the third period that the Blues finally made a substantial push. Twice in the final 20 minutes, they got to within a goal but couldn’t find the equalizer. Minnesota buried a pair of empty net goals, with Mikael Granlund scoring the winner with 1:13 remaining in regulation time, as the Wild came away with a 4-2 victory and 1-0 series lead.
Just 14 seconds after Granlund gave Minnesota a two-goal cushion, Alexander Steen provided the Blues a faint glimmer of hope, perhaps catching the Wild off guard and cutting its lead to one. It set up for an interesting finish when this game looked like it was over just before that.
Again, the Blues just couldn’t tie it. Jason Pominville cemented the win into the empty net with 20 seconds remaining.
Devan Dubnyk, making his first career playoff start after a remarkable regular season performance following his mid-season trade from Arizona to Minnesota, wasn’t overly busy until the third period, but he stopped 19 of 21 shots faced for the win.
It appeared for a while like Matt Dumba’s first career Stanley Cup playoff goal would turn out to be the winner. He gave the Wild a two-goal lead on a power play blast that beat Jake Allen glove side early in the second period.