– Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Despite being the higher seed, the Blues lost their series home-ice advantage to the Minnesota Wild after losing 4-2 at home.
In order to advance, St. Louis now must take at least one game on the road in the series.
A big issue all game long for the Blues was the penalties as St. Louis accounted for 18 penalty minutes to the Wild’s four. Minnesota scored two power play goals in the game capitalizing on the penalties by the Blues.
In the loss, Jake Allen got the start and stopped 25 out of 27 shots faced. Allen allowed two goals and the Wild managed two empty-net tallies to top the Blues.
Offensively, the Blues amounted just 21 shots in the game and remained scoreless for two periods of play before Jaden Schwartz and Alexander Steen got St. Louis on the board.
So far in the NHL playoffs, the higher seeds are just 3-5 in game one.
The first period was all Minnesota as the Wild jumped out to an early lead. Just 2:47 into the game, Jason Zucker went wide past Zbynek Michalek and fired a low shot on net. Allen made the right-pad save, but the rebound went right back to Zucker with speed. Zucker picked up the rebound and curled around the net and scored on a wrap-around on just the second shot for the Wild in the game to get Minnesota on the board.
The Wild were not done as they added to their lead early in the second period. On the power play, Jared Spurgeon passed along the point to his defensive partner Matt Dumba. Dumba took a slap shot with traffic in front of Allen that beat Allen to the glove side to make it 2-0 Minnesota with 15:53 remaining in the second period.
St. Louis failed to capitalize in the second period as well as Devan Dubnyk stopped all 11 shots faced to that point.
The Blues got on the board in the third period thanks to a goal from Schwartz. Patrik Berglund circled along the side boards and passed to Kevin Shattenkirk at the point. Shattenkirk one-timed a shot on net as Schwartz was there in front of Dubnyk for the tip. The goal was Schwartz’s second career playoff goal and cut the deficit to one with 12:48 remaining in regulation.
The game remained scoreless until the Blues pulled Allen with over a minute left in the game. Minnesota’s Mikael Granlund scored on the empty net to make it 3-1 seemingly putting the game out of reach.
St. Louis wasn’t done yet despite being shorthanded after a misconduct by Steve Ott. Vladamir Tarasenko took a shot after a face off outside the attacking zone that was blocked by Minnesota. The puck bounced right to Steen who fired a shot glove side on Dubnyk to cut the deficit back to one with under a minute left to play.
Despite the goal by Steen, Jason Pominville added another empty netter for Minnesota putting the game out of reach.
Game two between the Blues and Wild will be at the Scottrade Center Saturday, Apr. 18 at 2 p.m.