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Blues rout Dubnyk, Wild to even series

by Dan Myers /

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The demise of the St. Louis Blues has been greatly exaggerated.

The Blues countered a poor performance in Game 3 with a sterling showing in Game 4 of their Western Conference First Round Stanley Cup Playoff series against the Minnesota Wild, winning 6-1 at Xcel Energy Center on Wednesday.

The best-of-7 series is tied 2-2 and shifts back to Scottrade Center for Game 5 on Friday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN360, TVA Sports, FS-N).

"We brought it up to the game what we're capable of playing. The way we performed on Monday didn't sit well with us," Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. "We were able to come out tonight, we came out confidently, we knew we could get to that game and if we did we'd be able to give ourselves a chance to win. We did a great job tonight of playing that game off the get-go and sticking with it for 60 minutes."

David Backes, Paul Stastny, T.J. Oshie and Alex Pietrangelo, each of whom entered Wednesday with zero points, combined for five points. Backes had a goal and an assist. Shattenkirk had three assists, giving him a League-leading seven in the series.

"Our scoring is a direct reflection of our checking. When we check, we score," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "It looks like we've joined the tournament now and we're dialed in. We've got home-ice back, we're dialed into our game, we're going to be hard to play against when we're dialed in this. Not fun to play against."

Goaltender Jake Allen wasn't severely tested and finished with 17 saves. He has allowed two goals or fewer in 11 consecutive starts.

The six goals were the most ever allowed by the Wild in a Stanley Cup Playoff game.

"We had to assert ourselves. I think we had 20 guys on the page tonight, similar to Game 2," Backes said. "We've just got to stop this trend of every other game and play the same way in our building on Friday. Lot of great efforts for guys on the scoresheet and off the scoresheet that played really well that helped us win this game."

Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk allowed six goals on 17 shots before being removed late in the second period. The six goals allowed tied a season-high for him.

"Forget about it. It doesn't matter. It doesn't make a difference if we lost 1-0 or lost the way we did. It's 2-2 and we know we got better than that," Dubnyk said. "I've got [to be] better than that. We all got [to be] better than that and we'll get back at it in St. Louis."

St. Louis got started early, taking the lead at 5:34 when a blast from the point by Ryan Reaves beat Dubnyk. Vladimir Tarasenko, who had a hat trick in Game 2, tipped a Shattenkirk shot from the right circle past Dubnyk at 6:59 for a 2-0 lead.

"First goals in this series are big and they got the first goal, and they added the second one fairly quickly," Wild forward Thomas Vanek said. "Once they get the lead, they kind of sat back and trapped the neutral zone pretty good and we couldn't find our game."

Backes made it 3-0 at 10:06 with his first goal of the series, banging away at a loose puck until it slid past Dubnyk.

Minnesota got some life when Jared Spurgeon scored a power-play goal at 1:41 of the second period, but any hopes of a comeback were quashed less than two minutes later when Stastny scored off a rush at 3:39 to make it 4-1. The goal was Stastny's first of the series.

"It didn't have the feel of the type of game that we were going to come back," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "We weren't on it from the start, and it got worse. Normally, I think we start well but we stay with our game very strongly as far as whether we're ahead [or] whether we're behind, and tonight we broke that, that's for sure."

Tarasenko scored his second of the game and fifth of the series on a pretty breakaway backhand at 15:47.

"You just shake your head. I can't do that in a video game when it's slowed down for me," Backes said. "You love having those guys on your team, and he came through again offensively for us."

Patrik Berglund put another backhand over Dubnyk's glove at 16:50, ending the goaltender's night. He was replaced by Darcy Kuemper, who made nine stops the rest of the way.

"We know that we need to be better," Yeo said. "They were great tonight; there's no getting around that. They're a great team, and they played an unbelievable game tonight, so we've got to find a way to get better at ours."

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