Center Kyle Brodziak scored twice and right winger Nino
Niederreiter and left winger Matt Moulson also scored for Minnesota,
which earned its fourth win in a row and improved to 6-0-1 in its
past seven games. The Wild was 0-6-3 in its previous nine meetings
with St. Louis.
"We just wanted to prove to ourselves that when we're playing the
way that we're supposed to be playing, we can play with anybody,"
Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk and center Jaden Schwartz scored for
St. Louis, which has its first four-game losing streak of the season
and is 2-5 in its past seven games.
"We're confident in here that we can turn this around and we got two
more games to do that," Schwartz said.
St. Louis is at Dallas on Friday and home to Detroit Sunday.
Reversing course might have to be done without two of their leading
scorers, as the Blues may have lost more than just a game Thursday
Right winger T.J. Oshie, who has 21 goals 60 points this season,
left midway through the second period after taking a shoulder to the
chin from Minnesota left winger Mike Rupp, who was assessed a match
penalty for intent to injure.
"Obviously Oshie's out," said Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, without
elaborating on the extent of the injury. "Like everybody else at
this time of year, he's day-to-day, but certainly a tough hit to
take right now."
St. Louis played its first game without captain David Backes, who
has 27 goals and 57 points. The top line center is expected to be
back for the playoffs.
The game represented the final regular-season meeting between the
teams, but it also might have been a postseason preview.
St. Louis entered the day two points ahead of the Colorado Avalanche
in the Central Division. The team that wins the division will avoid
a first-round playoff series against the defending Stanley Cup
champion Chicago Blackhawks. Colorado played the Canucks in
Vancouver late Thursday.
Additionally, the Blues began the night one point behind the idle
Anaheim Ducks for the best record in the Western Conference. If St.
Louis wins the division but the Ducks finish with more points, the
Blues and Wild would meet up in the postseason. Minnesota is locked
into the seventh seed.
Despite St. Louis' 45-15 shot advantage, the Blues continued their
oft-repeated pattern of failing to put pucks in the net and letting
in too many. St. Louis scored two or fewer goals for the seventh
straight game and for the 10th time in the past 12. The Blues
allowed exactly four goals in each of their past seven losses.
[to top of second column]
"If we kept going it was going to eventually bounce our way," said
Blues left winger Alexander Steen, who leads the team with 33 goals.
"It didn't again tonight and we had a similar outing against
Washington. It's up to myself to put the puck in the net ... a lot
of missed opportunities."
Curry, whose last NHL appearance was Jan. 16, 2010, for the
Pittsburgh Penguins, was under control all night and was rarely
forced to make a spectacular save.
"I just tried to take it shot by shot," he said. "To be honest with
you, I was so nervous for this game, just a big stage for me."
Down 1-0 midway through the second, Shattenkirk scored on a wrist
shot 35 seconds into the ensuing five-on-three power play after the
Oshie hit to tie the game at 1, but Brodziak countered with a
short-handed tally 79 seconds later.
Schwartz tipped home a perfect feed from Steen for a short-handed
goal to tie the game at 2 less than four minutes later, but Moulson
slammed a pass past goaltender Ryan Miller for a 3-2 lead at 17:30
of the middle period.
Brodziak increased Minnesota's lead 58 seconds into the third
period, scoring from alone at the left post after the puck took an
odd carom off the boards.
"It's a tough stretch of hockey for me, as far as goals against go.
I don't feel like it's too far away, as far as my game, but it's got
to be better. Just need to get through this stretch and be there
when it counts.," said Miller, who stopped just nine of 13 shots
before being pulled four minutes into the third period and replaced
by Brian Elliott.
NOTES: Curry, who attended Breck High School in suburban Golden
Valley, Minn., for a year, is the fifth goalie to start a game for
the Wild this year. Niklas Backstrom, Josh Harding, Darcy Kuemper
and Ilya Bryzgalov are the others. ... Wild D Christian Folin made
his NHL debut. He was signed March 31 as a free agent after playing
collegiately this season at Massachusetts-Lowell, but he is not
eligible for the playoffs. ... St. Louis LW Brenden Morrow missed
the game after getting hit by a puck during warmups. The team had no
further details. He has two goals and one assist in his past nine
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.