The Minnesota Wild beat the visiting St. Louis Blues, 3-0, in Game 3 of their first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series on April 20. The Wild now hold a 2-1 series lead.
The Minnesota Wild beat the St. Louis Blues, 3-0, in Game 3 of their first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series on April 20.
According to Dan Myers of the Wild's official website, the team's top line consisting of Zach Parise, Jason Pominville and Mikael Granlund accounted for six points while goaltender Devan Dubnyk recorded 17 saves in the shutout victory before a sellout crowd of 19.165 at the Xcel Energy Center in Minneapolis. Minnesota now holds a 2-1 series lead.
Parise and Pominville were the game's top performers with one goal and one assist each while Granlund contributed two assists. It was Dubnyk's first shutout win in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, per Myers.
Granlund and Pominville were at the forefront of a 2-on-1 break in St. Louis' zone in the second period. Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson knocked the puck off Granlund's stick, but it somehow found its way to Parise, who dished it in return to a wide open Pominville in front of the St. Louis net for the game's first goal, per Myers.
It didn't take longer than three minutes for Pominville to return the favor.
After he passed the puck over to Parise, the latter beat St. Louis defenseman Jay Bouwmeester to a loose puck and shot it over Blues netminder Jake Allen to give his team a 2-0 lead, per the Wild's official website.
It was Parise's first goal of the playoffs. The Minnesota left wing described to Myers how he shot that one:
"I had to try and pull it through Bouwmeester's feet about four times with no success. Finally, I just tried to shoot it and caught him upstairs. I'm trying to get a shot and go high and hopefully it goes in.
"From that distance, you're trying to get in on net and trying to get it upstairs."
After Parise's goal, the Blues grew frustrated. St. Louis team captain David Backes "threw punches at Charlie Coyle," per The Minneapolis Star Tribune's Michael Russo.
"We're here to play hockey," Coyle told Russo at the end of the game. "We're not here to fight and do all that. That stuff after the whistle doesn't win you games."
Nino Niederreiter finished off the night's scoring with an empty-net goal with 2:02 left in the game, per Myers.
As for the Blues, they never really got it going offensively. Myers says their best chance to score was on a shot by Alexander Steen at the halfway mark of the third period. However, Dubnyk was there for the save.
The Wild netminder told Myers it was a near-flawless performance by his team:
"I've seen that a few times actually this last half of the year. I've seen some pretty incredible performances here at home by us and that ranks right up there with it.
"There just wasn't any mistakes. It was just line after line supporting each other, making good plays and being there for each other."
On the other hand, Backes told Myers it was ultimately Minnesota's speed which made the difference in this one:
"They skated a lot and wanted to assert their game and we let them by sitting on our heels and playing passive. We let them come at us, come at us, come at us and the Granlund line scored two goals for them.
"They're dynamite on the rush, they've shown that all series and they made us pay tonight.
"We've got to get to our game. I thought it was a lot better in the third again, but you can't play 15-20 minutes against this team and expect to win games. We need a full 60-minute effort like we had in Game 2."
The St. Louis line consisting of Steen, Vladimir Tarasenko and Jori Lehtera wasn't able to get a shot off during the 40 minutes it was on the ice, per the Wild's official website. Allen wound up with 21 saves for the Blues.
The Blues finished with just 17 shots on goal, per The Minneapolis Star Tribune.
St. Louis hopes to pull off the equalizer while Minnesota tries to earn a 3-1 series advantage when the two teams square off again on April 22 in Minnneapolis at 9:30 p.m. ET.
Don't Miss: iPhone 8: Everything You Need to Know
Make sure to log on to I4U News for the latest trends and developments for the geek mind.