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game recap

Blues hang on for win against Wild

Allen makes 30 saves to help St. Louis win third in row

by Dan Myers / Correspondent

Allen's terrific glove save

STL@MIN: Allen stretches for fantastic glove save

3/6/16: Jake Allen quickly gets across to make a terrific glove save to stone Jason Pominville, keeping the shutout intact in the 2nd

  • 00:10 •

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- St. Louis Blues goaltender Jake Allen was nine minutes away from his sixth shutout of the season.

Then the Minnesota Wild made things interesting.

Allen had 30 saves, and the Blues hung on for a 4-2 win against the Wild at Xcel Energy Center on Sunday.

Jori Lehtera, Ryan Reaves and Patrik Berglund scored to put St. Louis ahead 3-0 entering the third period before Minnesota mounted a rally and came within inches of tying the game. Robby Fabbri scored into an empty net with less than two minutes remaining to seal the Blues victory.

"We made a couple mistakes on their first goal, and then we made a coverage mistake on their second goal. And then all of a sudden the track meet is on," St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We're not making it easy on ourselves. We're playing some real good hockey, and then we're making mistakes that are kind of what I call 'coaching moments' mistakes. We can correct those on Tuesday with video and move forward."

Video: STL@MIN: Allen denies Wild late with the paddle

St. Louis has won three straight games and kept pace with the Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars, who each won Sunday. With 85 points, the Blues are two behind the Blackhawks and Stars in the race for first place in the Central Division; all three teams have played 67 games.

"You knew that we were on our game when we're getting into the offensive zone, putting pucks on the net and ending shifts in there and starting shifts there for the next group," Blues captain David Backes said. "I think we played a textbook game for us for 52 or 53 minutes, and then they were making a push and I think we got on our heels too much.

"We kept our heads above water and did a good job of getting two points."

Defensemen Ryan Suter and Matt Dumba scored for the Wild (31-26-10), whose four-game winning streak came to an end. Minnesota is two points ahead of the Colorado Avalanche for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.

Video: STL@MIN: Lehtera steals feed to open the scoring

Wild starting goalie Devan Dubnyk allowed three goals on 16 shots before giving way to Darcy Kuemper midway through the second period. Kuemper made saves on all 18 shots he faced.

"I've got to play better than that," Dubnyk said. "We did a good job coming back in the third, but that's the way it goes sometimes."

Lehtera opened the scoring at 7:44 of the first, intercepting a Mike Reilly pass at the Wild blue line and splitting a pair of Minnesota defenders before beating Dubnyk with a slap shot. It was the eighth goal of the season and first in a month for Lehtera, who returned to the lineup Sunday after missing the past three games with an upper-body injury.

Less than two minutes later, Reaves took a pass from Kyle Brodziak at the blue line, skated down the right-wing wall and scored on a wrist shot to the short side that eluded Dubnyk's glove at 9:37 to make it 2-0. Minnesota coach John Torchetti challenged the goal, but it was upheld after video review determined Brodziak was onside.

Video: STL@MIN: Reaves' shot gets past Dubynk's glove

Dubnyk said afterward he believed the call should have been overturned.

"It's so offside that both our defensemen stopped playing and all of a sudden they have twice as much room as they would [have]," Dubnyk said. "You have guys on the other bench that are laughing after the goal is called."

Torchetti said he was disappointed the Wild didn't continue to play through the stoppage.

"We teach play to the whistle, right? But it was a 1-on-3, and we should have eliminated the player," Torchetti said. "That's what happens when you don't stay detailed for one second. Next thing you know, one guy beats three, and it's a goal."

When Berglund scored his sixth goal off a rebound at 10:21 of the second period, it didn't look like the contested goal would matter much.

Video: STL@MIN: Berglund collects rebound for 3-0 lead

But then Minnesota scored twice in the third period to make things interesting.

Suter ended Allen's shutout bid with 8:58 remaining, finishing off a backhand try that went over Allen's glove and under the crossbar.

Dumba poked in his 10th goal on a loose puck in the crease that got behind Allen at 14:40.

"You just gotta stay up. We're still winning. If you look at the clock, we're still up by one goal," Allen said. "If you get down on yourself, if you lay low and let them take it to us even more and didn't lay it on the line, then we would have really been in trouble."

Suter nearly tied it late, but his shot from the high slot deflected off traffic in front of the net trickled inches wide of the post.

Seconds later, Fabbri raced in alone and scored into an empty net for his 16th goal at 18:29.

Video: Blues hold off Wild's late rally in 4-2 win

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