St. Lewis – He’s upset the Blues wild for months, from spoiling the winter classic at Target Field on New Years Day to interrupting the team’s franchise record pace with rare late-season flaws.
The final pits came this spring on Thursday, 5-1 at the Enterprise Center in Game 6 that wiped out Wild’s best of seven series 4-2.
“Obviously he’s really frustrated,” said Mats Zuccarello. “I think we all had a belief that we were going back to Minnesota for Game Seven.”
This is the third year in a row that Wild hasn’t got ahead of her first game; The team has not attended the second round since 2015, rebounding early on the six post-season successes over the past seven years.
“I had a lot of positivity about this team this year and we thought we could do something special,” said Marcos Foligno. “When you don’t get the job done, especially in stressful times and when you need to do it and keep going, it’s definitely frustrating.”
St.Louis goalkeeper Jordan Bennington was almost perfect, scoring 25 stops in 83 from 88 shots while bolstering the Blues to three straight wins. Next up for the Blues is another showdown in the central section, this time with an avalanche.
After Game Losses 4 and 5, Wild tried to adapt.
Cam Talbot replaced Marc-Andre Fleury in the net, finishing 22 saves on his first start to the series, and Wilde added new legs in Dmitri Kulikov and Conor Dewar for injured Nick Deslauriers to the squad. But the team was still far away.
“I was doing everything I could to stay fit,” Talbot said. “You don’t want to go into the elimination match, but you do want the chance to play during the playoffs and they gave me the chance and it just wasn’t good enough.”
The Wild’s struggles have made a contrasting comparison to the poise of the Blues with many of the 2019 Stanley Cup players.
He scored the first goal in the 14th minute, 59 seconds into the first half, which saw Nick Lady skate into the Wild untouched and take a shot from outside the left-hand circle with all five Wild players on the ice around him.
“It has to be a rescue that far,” Talbot said.
Wild coach Evason mentioned that Talbot has been projected onto the goal and that the ball puck should not hit the net.
“I’m sure it looks like a terrible target,” Evason said. “But you have 1 against 5. He shouldn’t have had a chance to shoot.”
However, St. Louis wasn’t the only problem Wild had this season.
Special teams were also an issue, and remained a stark mismatch with the blues.
Strong play had a chance to equalize early in the second half, but St. Louis beat Wilde 3-0 and Foligno skated out of the shot lane for a pass from the area.
Then at 9:26 during a blues power play, Ryan O’Reilly was left alone in the lead for one timer. Tyler Bosak managed to pull off a rebound in 3:59 later before St. Louis once again capitalized on a power game, this time with an upward shot from Vladimir Tarasenko at 18:36. David Perron’s assistant was his second in the match.
The Blues went 2 for 6 and 8 for 26 in the series; Wild was 0 for 5 and 4 for 24 overall.
“The special teams weren’t special to us, it was special to them,” Foligno said.
The thing that didn’t help Wild Wild was that she spent most of that time without having a contributor to both units in Joel Eriksson Ek.
He left late in the first period after taking a high stick from Kulikov and only returned late in the second with a shield on his helmet.
“You’re looking for your best central man to close, and he just isn’t there,” Foligno said. “It’s frustrating. It was obviously a very brutal injury. I think he had a lot of stuff in his mouth. Too bad he wasn’t able to get out any faster.”
Returning was key to Wild’s success, especially when staring at a multi-target hole, but the crowd faltered.
So did the attack, which scored more than any other season in Wild history, with Matt Domba’s stunning 6:25 shot in the lone team’s third score before Colton Paraiko pucked the ball into the empty net with 1:41 a second point left for him. the night. The 30 top scorers Kevin Fiala and Ryan Hartmann scored zero in the playoffs. Same thing with Foligno.
However, that wasn’t all that exacerbated this frustration.
With a glut of goals, superstar Kirill Kaprizov and an impressive home record, Wild looked like he might have a handful in the playoffs – and the team cemented that reputation, becoming a deadline-trade buyer to get ready for the next trip.
But this maneuver and the team that thrived most of the season were not yet a match for a troublesome opponent in the Blues, who have now won 17 of the last 22 encounters between these two opponents.
“They’re two teams that fight really well, and they put the puck in the net and we didn’t,” Zuccarello said.