The Minnesota Wild defeated the St. Louis Blues, 4-1, on April 26 to advance to the second round of the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff against the five-time champions Chicago Blackhawks.
The Minnesota Wild are advancing to the second round of the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff against the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Wild are moving on by virtue of their 4-1 win in Game 6 of their first-round series against the St. Louis Blues before a rabid crowd of 19,318 at Xcel Energy Center on April 26, per the team's official website. Minnesota Left wing Zach Parise led the assault with two goals.
Right wingers Justin Fontaine and Nino Niederreiter added a goal apiece while netminder Devan Dubnyk wound up with 30 saves for the Minnesota cause, per the Wild's official website.
T.J. Oshie scored the Blues' only goal, per ESPN.
Blue goaltender Jake Allen gave up two consecutive goals to Parise and Fontaine. This occurred just after St. Louis head coach Ken Hitchcock told NBC's Brian Engblom during an in-game interview "you've got to stick with him" in reference to Allen, per The Minneapolis Star Tribune's Michael Russo.
Moments later, Hitchcock sent in veteran goaltender Brian Elliott for Allen, per Russo.
It was the fourth time the Wild had entered a game enjoying a lead in a playoff series. More importantly, it was the first time ever the team won a postseason game while holding a series lead, per its official website.
The Wild beat the reigning Central Division champion for a second straight season. Last year, they beat the Colorado Avalanche in seven games in their first-round series. Now the Wild won a playoff series for the first time on their home ice, per Russo.
As for the Blues, they lost their third consecutive first-round playoff series. Russo says St. Louis managed just 14 goals in six playoff games against Minnesota this year.
Minnesota continued to assert its dominance whenever it scores the game's first goal.
For this series, the Wild upped their record to 3-0 when they scored first. During the regular season, they went 35-6-4 overall and 22-3 in their last 25 games when they recorded the game's first goal, per their official website.
The Wild outshot the Blues, 10-4, in the first period, per The Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Russo stresses it was a crucial win because it eased the pressure off Minnesota having to play in another Game 7. Now, the Wild get to enjoy a four- or five-game respite before facing the Chicago Blackhawks.
Minnesota gets a shot at redemption against Chicago, which eliminated the former in the past two years, per The Minnesota Star Tribune.
The Blackhawks earned home-ice advantage over the Wild by virtue of their better regular-season record, per CBS Chicago. The former won their regular-season series, three games to two.
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