– Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images
The St. Louis Blues are now eliminated following a 4-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild in game six of the series.
The loss marks the third straight season in which the Blues have been eliminated in the conference quarterfinals. St. Louis is 6-16 over those past four series.
In the loss, the lone goal came from T.J. Oshie, but it was not enough to overcome the three goals scored by the Wild on Jake Allen. Allen stopped 11 out of 13 shots before being pulled in replace for Brian Elliott. Despite just totaling one goal, the Blues out-shot the Wild for the second straight game by a total of 31 to 21.
Minnesota wasted little time getting out to the lead in the first period. With the Blues on the man advantage, Paul Stastny dropped the pass back to Kevin Shattenkirk at the blue line. Shattenkirk mishandled the puck leading to a break for Zach Parise. Shattenkirk fought back and muscled Parise to the side boards, but Parise was able to get a shot off from a tough angle. The shot was perfectly placed into the upper corner of the net over Allen’s shoulder to give the Wild a 1-0 lead just 7:14 into the period.
Minnesota added to its lead in the second as Justin Fontaine carried the puck through the neutral zone and then past Carl Gunnarsson. Fontaine shot from the high slot on net and beat Allen through the five hole making it 2-0 with 8:41 remaining in the second period.
After the goal, Elliott came into the game to replace Allen in net.
Late in the third period, Oshie came away with the puck in the corner to get it back to the point to Alex Pietrangelo. Pietrangelo passed cross ice to Shattenkirk who sent a bouncing puck toward the net. Oshie was there to collect the puck and put it in the net with just four seconds remaining in the period cutting the deficit to one.
The Wild answered back in the third period as Mikael Granlund fired a shot on Elliott on a two-on-one chance. Elliott made the first stop, but Parise was there to backhand the rebound into the net for his second goal of the game and third of the series making it 3-1 Minnesota with just 18:59 left in regulation.
Despite the Blues’ chances late in the game, Minnesota put the nail in the coffin with an empty net goal by Nino Niederreiter.
Plenty of rumors are already swirling about potential firings and changes to be made for the Blues. A big decision will come at the coaching position where Ken Hitchcock is now 10-17 in the playoffs with the Blues despite making the playoffs in all four seasons in St. Louis.
Jake Allen and Vladamir Tarasenko are both restricted free agents this offseason while Chris Porter, Barret Jackman, Zbynek Michalek, Olli Jokinen, Marcel Goc and Chris Butler are all unrestricted free agents.