– Photo By Ryan Leopando / Arch City Sports
The Blues traveled to Minnesota for the first of a four game road trip Saturday night. St. Louis is riding high, coming off an overtime game winning goal by Vladimir Tarasenko a night ago. The Wild have been playing great over the last two weeks, winning six out of their last eight games. Jake Allen was in net tonight again for the Blues. It would be the first time in Allen’s NHL career that he has started back to back nights.
The first period saw no action on the scoreboard, but things got heated when Marco Scandella delivered an illegal check to the head of T.J. Oshie. Scandella only received a two minute minor for the penalty, while Oshie would spend a few minutes in the Blues’ locker room getting checked out.
In the second period, Vladimir Tarasenko picked up where he left off Friday night. Tarasenko intercepted the puck near the blue line, drifted across the slot, waited for a shooting lane to clear, and then ripped a wrist shot by Niklas Backstrom to give the Blues the lead. The goal was Vladi’s 14th of the season.
The lead wouldn’t last long, however. Mikko Koivu beat Jake Allen with a wrist shot. Shortly after the Wild tied it up, Kevin Shattenkirk nailed checked Ryan Carter into the boards. Carter’s head snapped back awkwardly, but looked worse than it was. Shattenkirk would get tagged with a five minute major and a game misconduct, finishing his night. During the Wild power play, Zach Parise beat Jake Allen for his ninth goal of the season, giving Minnesota a 2-1 lead.
For most of the third period, the Blues looked as if they were not getting back into the game. At the 14:27 mark, Patrik Berglund found David Backes with a nice saucer pass. Backes sliced towards the net and beat Backstrom high to the glove side and tie the game at two. Backes’ seventh goal of the season would carry this game into overtime.
The Blues spent the overtime period in their offensive zone. St. Louis registered four shots on net. The Wild had zero during the extra period.
Already guaranteeing the Blues would receive one point from this game, they needed to win in the shootout in order to keep pace with the Nashville Predators, who won earlier tonight.
The shootout started with Jake Allen denying the first three he faced. Niklas Backstrom started off by shutting down T.J. Oshie, and then Alex Steen. With the next goal potentially being the one to end it, Ken Hitchcock sent out Blues’ sharp shooter Vladimir Tarasenko. Vladi crept in towards the net and found just enough space to put a wrist shot in the back of the net, ending the game and giving Tarasenko his second game-winning shot in as many nights.
Barret Jackman played this game nursing an injury from the night before. Carl Gunnarsson and the Blues’ defense did a great job stepping up and filling the void, blocking 17 shots on the night. Although he allowed two goals, this was one of the best performances of Jake Allen’s young career. Allen denied 36 of the 38 shots the Wild put on him.
The loss drops the Minnesota Wild to 13-9-1. The Blues improve to 16-6-2 and remain tied with the Predators atop the Central with 34 points. The Blues will enjoy a few days off before traveling to Chicago to take on the Blackhawks. St. Louis won their only meeting with Chicago 3-2 on October 25th. Puck drops Wednesday at 7 PM CST. That game can be seen nationally on NBCSN or heard on KMOX 1120.