Territorially, the St. Louis Blues held the edge over the Minnesota Wild in the opening period of their best-of-seven first-round series.
Beyond zone time and seven shots on goalie Devan Dubnyk on 22 attempts, according to hockeystats.ca, the Blues didn’t have anything to show for it after 20 minutes and instead found themselves down 1-0.
The Blues would spend the rest of the night trying to play catch-up in a 4-2 loss to the Wild on home ice.
“We’ve got to play better. They came out and played a solid road game. We needed to capitalize on a few more chances,” said David Backes, as per Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
In total, the Wild blocked 20 shot attempts, and 12 of those came in the first period, according to NHL.com, as Minnesota stifled the Blues early.
In his post-game press conference, Ken Hitchcock reiterated that zone time favored the Blues but they were unable to get many shots through to the net early in the game.
“I don’t know about killer instinct, but we have not played well off of layoffs all year,” said Hitchcock in video posted on the club’s website.
“This is probably another example of that. But we’ve had a game under our belt. We’re going to have to play better. Killer instinct comes in a number of fashions. One of the fashions is that you really have to simplify your game in the playoffs. I thought when we didn’t get the shots through at the start, we started to play a very complicated game that made us at times look slow.
“We were into the ‘Make the next play’ rather than play it off the goalie and see what he’s got.”