Wild take down Blues

Published 9:07 am Monday, March 16, 2015

ST. LOUIS — Devan Dubnyk found a pretty good way to forget his poor past against St. Louis.


Dubnyk made a season-high 41 saves and Nino Niederreiter and Kyle Brodziak scored just 17 seconds apart in the third period as the Minnesota Wild defeated the Blues 3-1 on Saturday night.

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“I tried not to think about it before, but this was kind of my unicorn here,” Dubnyk said. “I got my first start against these guys in Edmonton and it was real ugly. For some reason, it didn’t seem to matter how good I felt in a game against these guys, it always seemed to end up 4-1 or 5-1 by the end of the game. It’s nice to get out there with a different team and get one tonight so I can stop thinking about it.”

Dubnyk entered with an 0-7 record, a 4.72 goals-against average and .843 save percentage against the Blues, but each of those games came as a member of the Edmonton Oilers.

Saturday marked the 27th consecutive start for Dubnyk with Minnesota since coming over from the Arizona Coyotes on Jan. 14, and the Wild improved to 20-5-2 with him and 38-24-7 overall on the season.

Like Dubnyk, Minnesota also had some rough recent history against St. Louis. The Blues had won 10 of their last 11 games against the Wild, including five straight at Scottrade Center.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game,” Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said. “We played last night and we traveled. They were fresh, they were waiting for us. We knew this wasn’t going to be perfect but we found a way.”

Dubnyk kept the Wild in the game despite a barrage of shots. He made 11 saves in the first period, 20 in the second and 10 more in the third.

Niederreiter gave Minnesota the lead at the 13:27 mark of the third period when he poked a loose puck past Blues goalie Brian Elliott for his 22nd of the season, assisted by Mikko Koivu and Jared Spurgeon.

“It was kind of like a battle behind the net and then I was in front of the crease and Spurgeon made a shot and it deflected off Mikko and then kind of bounced through Elliott and I found a way to get that puck and put it in,” Niederreiter said.

Then, just 17 seconds later, Brodziak beat Elliott for his ninth of the year following a turnover in the defensive zone by Vladimir Tarasenko to give the Wild a 3-1 lead.

“We were in a good spot,” Brodziak said. “A tie game going into the third on the road, as cliche as it is, you put yourself in a good spot. Fortunately we were able to come out and have a decent period and capitalize on a couple chances.”

The Blues (43-20-5) had won three straight games and were 5-1-1 over their past seven, but they were only to score one goal on their 42 shots on Saturday.

“We made two mistakes,” St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said. “I don’t know, did they have 10 scoring chances? Probably not. We made two mistakes and they end up in our net.”

The Blues thought they scored just 1:41 into the first period when Patrik Berglund deflected a shot by Jay Bouwmeester. It was ruled a goal after a review, but then reviewed again and determined it was not a goal because it hit the side of the net.

St. Louis did score first, 4:57 into the second period, when David Backes tipped in an Alexander Steen wrister from near the blue line that was also assisted by Paul Stastny.

The Wild appeared to tie the score just 13 seconds later on Zach Parise’s 28th of the season, but officials also took away that goal upon review when it was determined that Parise had deflected the puck in with his skate.

Minnesota scored — and it counted — just 33 seconds later, tying it 1-all when Thomas Vanek took a pass from Justin Fontaine in front and flipped it over the glove of Elliott for his 17th goal of the year and his 600th NHL point.

The Blues outshot the Wild 21-5 in the second period and 32-10 in the first two periods, but the teams went into the third period tied thanks to the play of Dubnyk.

“No doubt about it, he stole us two points,” Vanek said. “I think overall they played well tonight, St. Louis, and (Dubnyk) kept us in the game.”

NOTES: D Zbynek Michalek made his St. Louis debut. He was acquired by the Blues at the trade deadline but was recovering from a concussion that sidelined him one month. … The announced attendance of 19,638 was the Blues’ 17th sellout of the season. … Minnesota has won seven straight road games and is 11-1-2 in its past 14 games on the road. … Wild D Nate Prosser left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury and did not return. Yeo said he would be questionable for the next game.