Niederreiter, Dubnyk pace Wild in rout of Blues
Send a link to a friend
[January 27, 2017]
SAINT PAUL, Minn. -- The
Minnesota Wild have avoided any major letdowns or extended losing
streaks in their first year under coach Bruce Boudreau.
Nino Niederreiter and the Wild were determined to not let a slip
happen before departing for the All-Star break.
Niederreiter had a goal and two assists, and goaltender Devan Dubnyk
made 25 saves as the Wild recorded a 5-1 win against the St. Louis
Blues on Thursday.
Minnesota (32-11-5) enters the break with the most points in the
"It's been a lot of fun," Niederreiter said. "It's fun to be in the
hunted seat here."
Mikael Granlund added a goal and an assist, while Erik Haula, Tyler
Graovac and Mikko Koivu also scored for Minnesota, which won for the
21st time in the past 26 games.
"It just shows the potential our team has," Haula said of leading
the West. "We can't pump each other's tires. We know how quickly it
slips. We've seen those losing streaks, as well as the winning
streaks, so we know what it's like. I think we've kind of learned
from our mistakes. I think the goal is just to never lose two in a
row and just have a high standard for our team."
Minnesota has lost back-to-back games in regulation just once this
season, Nov. 1 and 5, producing a conference-leading record at the
All-Star break for the first time in franchise history.
Vladimir Tarasenko scored his 21st goal of the season for St. Louis
(24-20-5), but the Blues lost for the fourth time in five games.
"We just don't seem to handle the good stuff very well," St. Louis
coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We played so well in Pittsburgh, and to
come back and play the way we did today is disappointing. It's too
much of a reoccurring theme here."
The Blues beat the Penguins 3-0 on Tuesday. St. Louis was going to
use Jake Allen in goal against Minnesota but decided to go with
Carter Hutton after Hutton shut out the Penguins.
Hutton made 25 saves on 30 shots against the Wild before being
pulled after Niederreiter and Granlund scored in the first 2:11 of
the third period.
Allen replaced Hutton and stopped all three shots he faced.
"We need to take a break and really figure out how badly we want it
here, everybody, and see where we go from there," Hitchcock said.
After a scoreless first period, the teams combined for four goals in
the second. Just 23 seconds into the period, Haula scored his 10th
goal of the season. Zach Parise brought the puck into the zone and
sent a cross-ice pass to Haula, who snapped off a quick shot to beat
Haula's fourth goal in six games gave Minnesota eight players with
at least 10 goals this season, the highest total of any team in the
NHL. The Wild had 11 players register double-digit goals all of last
[to top of second column]
Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk (40) and forward Eric Staal (12) celebrate
after defeating the St Louis Blues 5-1 at Xcel Energy Center.
Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
"I think it's really big for us that we have four really good lines,
that we just have different lines scoring and playing well," Haula
said. "I think we've been really good at picking each other up. Even
if it's not going for somebody, you don't have that pressure this
year, I feel like. Especially for our top guys, we just keep playing
and we're getting a lot of production from all around."
Tarasenko, who has seven goals in 17 regular-season meetings and six
in six playoff games against Minnesota, tied the score. Jaden
Schwartz blocked a shot in the defensive zone and then sent a pass
up the middle of the ice to a streaking Tarasenko, who split a pair
of Wild defenders on the breakaway.
Graovac was credited with his first goal in 17 games after
Niederreiter's pass went off his skate at 12:19 of the second
period. Koivu added a power-play goal with 10.9 seconds left in the
middle period after Niederreiter lost the puck but rallied to regain
possession before Koivu popped the puck over Hutton in a scrum at
NOTES: St. Louis recalled C Ivan Barbashev from the AHL Chicago
Wolves on Thursday with C Kyle Brodziak going on injured reserve.
Brodziak will be re-evaluated in five weeks as he deals with a right
foot injury. Barbashev made his NHL debut centering the Blues'
fourth line. Barbashev was a second-round pick in 2014 and had 19
goals and 18 assists in 44 games in the AHL this season. ... St.
Louis' Ken Hitchcock is one win behind Al Arbour for third on the
NHL's all-time coaching wins list with 781 victories. ... Minnesota
will be represented at the All-Star game by coach Bruce Boudreau, D
Ryan Suter and G Devan Dubnyk. RW Vladimir Tarasenko will represent
[© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2017 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.