Wild Breakaway: Minnesota battles back to force OT but falls to Blues
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Ryan O’Reilly scored his second goal of the game at 3:43 of overtime and the St. Louis Blues beat the Minnesota Wild 5-4 on Thursday night.
Sammy Blais, Tyler Bozak and Marco Scandella also scored for St. Louis. Ville Husso made 26 saves as the Blues won their fourth straight and seventh in the last 10. St. Louis moved five points ahead of Arizona for the fourth and final playoff spot in the West Division.
“Every guy is working hard, using the structure and playing for each other,” O’Reilly said. “This is the time. We’re trying to get in the playoffs. We need everyone. Keep beating teams like this, it gives us confidence. We’re going to be a dangerous team down the stretch here.”
Joel Eriksson Ek, Kevin Fiala, Victor Rask and Kirill Kaprizov scored for the Wild, who had a seven-game winning streak snapped by St. Louis on Wednesday in the first of three straight games between the teams. Cam Talbot had 16 saves for Minnesota, which is third in the West and a point behind Colorado.
“They came out harder than us, and it started in the first half,” Fiala said. “They played the puck better, they kind of outplayed us. Second half, we turned up and get the momentum going. I feel like that’s how it is. It was a good comeback but obviously a loss.”
The teams wrap up their three-game series Saturday at St. Paul.
O’Reilly came off the bench on a line change and Jordan Kyrou made a pass ahead to spring O’Reilly for a breakaway. O’Reilly has 22 goals this season and six in five games against the Wild this season.
Playing Minnesota has helped St. Louis’ surge. The Blues are 4-1-0 against the Wild this season and 8-1-1 in the past 10 matchups.
“We’ve got real good team spirit right now,” St. Louis coach Craig Berube said. “Guys are bought in right now.”
Kevin Fiala on Wild's 5-4 OT loss to the Blues
Minnesota tried to emulate what St. Louis did on Wednesday. The Wild held a 3-1 advantage in the previous game when the Blues scored three times in the third for the win.
This time, Minnesota scored three times in the third.
Eriksson Ek scored before the end of the second to start the rally. Fiala then scored 2:21 into the third. O’Reilly stopped the momentum with a power-play goal, but Rask added his goal and Kaprizov scored with 51.5 seconds left to force overtime.
“We didn’t crack,” Wild coach Dean Evason said. “They didn’t take our will away in the third period. We kept pushing tonight. … Would you like to have 60 minutes? Sure. Would they have liked to have 60 minutes last night? Sure. But it didn’t happen that way.”
Matt Dumba & Jordan Greenway on Wild's OT loss to Blues
Before the game, St. Louis wrote on its official Twitter account that Vladimir Tarasenko would miss the game with a lower-body injury. Berube said Tarasenko was injured during Wednesday’s game and is day to day.
Tarasenko, who has 11 goals and 16 assists in 30 career games against Minnesota, had played in 23 straight games since missing the start of the season after shoulder surgery.
Colton Parayko was back in the lineup after missing two games with an upper-body injury.
O’Reilly’s first goal gave St. Louis a power-play goal in nine straight games. The Blues are 11 for 25 on the power play during that stretch.
Dean Evason on Wild's OT loss to Blues
Eriksson Ek added to his career-best with his 17th goal of the season. He has three goals in the past four games. Fiala has 18 goals and four in the past six games.
Blais took advantage of moving to a line with Bozak and Jaden Schwartz, taking Tarasenko’s spot. He scored 3:14 into the game. Schwartz forced a turnover on the forecheck. Torey Krug’s shot from the point was saved by Blais poked home the loose puck in front of Talbot.