Jake Allen didn’t have the kind of start one would expect with his team on the brink of elimination.
Allen gave up a shorthanded marker to Zach Parise at 7:14 of the first period from a horrible angle.
“The young guy is learning, we got to stick with him,” Ken Hitchcock told Brian Engblom during a stoppage in play.
It didn’t take long for Hitchcock to change his mind.
At 11:19 of the second, Justin Fontaine beat Allen five-hole on a shot he should’ve had.
Hitchcock had seen in enough replacing Allen with Brian Elliott.
Elliott has not played in the series with his last appearance coming on April 11.
Allen allowed two goals on 13 shots.
Elliott’s last playoff action came during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 when the Blues lost in six games of the first round to the L.A. Kings.
With Justin Fontaine in the box for tripping, Zach Parise opened the scoring with his second of the playoffs.
Matt Cooke started the play by causing Kevin Shattenkirk to turn the puck over at the Wild blue line.
Parise then beat Blues’ starter Jake Allen from a bad angle.
It makes one wonder…
Parise is the sixth player in franchise history to score a shorthanded goal in the playoffs.
Minnesota is 2-0 in the series when scoring first.
The Minnesota Wild suffered one of the worst playoff losses in franchise history on Wednesday night — a 6-1 shellacking at home against St. Louis — and the day after, head coach Mike Yeo did a little posturing.
“There’s still pressure on them,” Yeo said Thursday, per the Pioneer Press. “They think that they’re much better than us, and it’s our job to prove we’re up at that level.”
As for last night?
“It’s not like we played our best hockey and came up short,” he explained.
That message stayed consistent with comments made in the immediate aftermath of Game 4 (basically, “we stunk, let’s move on.”) Zach Parise said his team was “brutal” and Yeo followed suit today, saying Minnesota has plenty more to give — which, apparently, will include a new lineup look for Game 5.
There’s no shortage of candidates to come out after Game 4. Sean Bergenheim played a team-low 10:11 and finished minus-2 on the night, and has been parked in the press box already this postseason. Veteran d-man Jordan Leopold had the fewest minutes among all blueliners and finished minus-3, and with the wealth of options Yeo has at his disposal — Matt Cooke, Jordan Schroeder, Erik Haula, Christian Folin and Nate Prosser all sat last game — there are plenty of new looks he could throw at St. Louis.
Related: Shattenkirk lighting it up as Blues play ‘our game’
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.