Recap: Blues at Wild 11.28.23

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild won their first game under coach John Hynes and ended a seven-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory against the St. Louis Blues at Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday.

Hynes replaced Dean Evason, who was fired Monday along with assistant coach Bob Woods.

“When you’re away from it, you do miss it,” Hynes said. “I mean, it’s an honor to be here and, as I’ve said, to have the opportunity to get back and coach this particular group really, really excites me.

“Tonight made that excitement even more.”

Joel Eriksson Ek, Frederick Gaudreau and Matt Boldy scored for Minnesota (6-10-4), which was 0-5-2 during its skid. Filip Gustavsson made 23 saves for his first win since Oct. 24

“Yeah, I think the energy was there. I think every time you’re in a losing streak, you want to get out of it bad," Gaudreau said. "It happens to everybody, digging in with a new staff and everything. It’s weird but it’s also exciting.”

STL@MIN: Eriksson Ek gives Wild early lead

Colton Parayko scored for St. Louis (11-9-1), which has lost two of three. Jordan Binnington made 34 saves.

“They had good energy,” Blues coach Craig Berube said. “That’s the only thing I talked about between periods was they got a lot of energy and we’re lacking it a little bit. We got to find some energy. New coach, they got a new lease on life over there. They played well tonight.”

Eriksson Ek gave the Wild a 1-0 lead at 2:41 of the first period. He was left all alone in the bottom of the right circle following a 4-on-2 rush and scored with a one-timer off a pass from Mats Zuccarello from behind the net.

Parayko tied it 1-1 at 10:30 with a shot from the top of the right circle that went under the left arm of Gustavsson.

Gaudreau put Minnesota back in front 2-1 at 18:10 with a shot through a screen by Marcus Foligno.

STL@MIN: Gaudreau scores goal against Jordan Binnington

The Wild then outshot the Blues 17-5 in the second period.

“They really got to their game in the second period. We didn’t put enough pucks in deep,” Blues forward Brayden Schenn said. “They dominated us. That’s the story there. Can’t have that happen.”

The Wild preserved the lead midway through the third period when they successfully killed off a four-minute power play for the Blues after Boldy was assessed a double minor for high-sticking.

Minnesota, which entered the game last in the NHL on the penalty kill (66.7 percent), went 4-for-4 against St. Louis' power play.

“I think the penalty kill had a really good night tonight,” Hynes said. “Some of it was structure. They had some good looks. I think they hit the post on one, and [Gustavsson] made some huge saves which was critical. I think when your penalty kill is effective your goaltender is your best penalty killer, but I was impressed with the attention to detail, the stick detail, the willingness to block shots. I thought we were pretty solid on clears, which is important. So, it’s the finer details of the penalty kill that were executed, and therefore we want to get in the mindset and identity of the penalty kill where it can be a lethal part of our game.”

Boldy pushed the lead to 3-1 at 17:08 of the third period, receiving a stretch pass from Jonas Brodin and beating Binnington glove side on a breakaway. It was his second goal this season and first since Oct. 14.

“It’s been a long time coming, so it's nice to kind of see one go in,” Boldy said. “I thought it had been getting better just playing with the puck, a little bit more confidence, and then today I felt good. The whole team was playing faster, hard and everything like that. Linemates (Gaudreau, Marcus Johansson) played awesome, defensemen, everyone, so they made it easy.”

NOTES: Hynes is the third coach in Wild history to win his debut (Mike Yeo, John Torchetti). ... Zuccarello has nine points (two goals, seven assists) during a seven-game point streak. He also extended his season-opening home point streak to 10 games (five goals, eight assists), the longest in Minnesota history. ... Gaudreau's goal was his first point this season (10th game).

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