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game recap

Wild handle Blues, enter break leading West

Minnesota scores three times in 2:23 spanning second, third periods

by Jessi Pierce / NHL.com Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild scored three goals in 2:23, and Devan Dubnyk made 24 saves in a 5-1 win against the St. Louis Blues at Xcel Energy Center on Thursday.

"It's pretty balanced right now. I think every line got a goal today," Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. "It's a different kind of team than I've had in the past, but it's a very enjoyable one to coach."

 

WATCH: All Blues vs. Wild highlights

 

Mikko Koivu scored a power-play goal with 12 seconds remaining in the second period, Nino Niederreiter scored at 1:29 of the third period, and Mikael Granlund scored 42 seconds later to give Minnesota a 5-1 lead.

"It's not the prettiest hockey, but we found a way to get those goals," Niederreiter said. "Obviously goals like that, especially at the end of a period, was huge for us. We came in, talked about it and had a really good third period."

Video: STL@MIN: Niederreiter scores, records his third point

The Wild (32-11-5) are 12-3-0 in the past 15 home games. They are 8-2-0 in the past 10 games and 21-3-2 in the past 26. Minnesota has 69 points and enters the 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend in first place in the Central Division and Western Conference.

Erik Haula scored 23 seconds into the second period for a 1-0 Minnesota lead. Haula has four goals in the past six games.

Vladimir Tarasenko tied it 1-1 at 4:47 with a breakaway goal that ended an eight-game drought. Tyler Graovac tapped in a rebound off a stop on Niederreiter at 12:19 to give Minnesota a 2-1 lead.

Niederreiter had three points and has 10 (four goals, six assists) in the past seven games.

St. Louis (24-20-5) pulled goaltender Carter Hutton after Granlund scored. He made 25 saves. Jake Allen, who had played once since Jan. 12, made three saves in relief.

Blues goalies have been pulled in four of past nine games.

"We just don't seem to handle the good stuff very well," St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We played so well (in a 3-0 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday) and to come back and play the way we did today is disappointing. It's too much of a reoccurring theme here."

Video: STL@MIN: Tarasenko goes five-hole to finish breakway

 

Goal of the game

Niederreiter cut up the middle and shot on Hutton. Graovac scored on the rebound, his second point in 31 games.

"That really was a lucky goal," Graovac said. "It feels good. It's my dad's birthday today, so I wanted to get one for him. I wanted to get something for him and the best I could do was a goal. I'm sure he appreciated that."

Video: STL@MIN: Niederreiter's feed goes in off Graovac

 

Save of the game

Dubnyk sprawled to stop Patrik Berglund on a 2-on-1 at 8:19 of the first period.

Video: STL@MIN: Dubnyk turns away Berglund on the rush

 

Unsung performance of the game

Parise pulled back the puck and passed to Haula on the left side on a 2-on-1. Parise had four shots and was plus-1 in his 800th NHL game.

"I thought Zach was our best player," Boudreau said. "He didn't score a goal, but to me, he was all over the ice. He was the catalyst that started the first goal. He could have had a couple himself, and eventually they'll start going in for him, but to me he was the catalyst for us tonight."

Video: STL@MIN: Parise sets up Haula to give Wild the lead

 

Highlight of the game

Koivu got the rebound of Granlund's shot and put it over Hutton's pads.

Video: STL@MIN: Wild's forecheck leads to Koivu's goal

 

They said it

"We just [have to] play better. That's the bottom line." -- Blues forward Alexander Steen

 

"We need to take a break and really figure out how badly we want it here, everybody, and see where we go from there." -- Blues coach Ken Hitchcock

 

"We talk about consistency. The bar is high for us in the room. We keep each other accountable. Every game is important. We've talked about it and we want to be on top." -- Wild forward Erik Haula

 

Need to know

Blues forward Ivan Barbashev had one shot, four hits and two blocked shots in 10:03 in his NHL debut. ... Granlund has 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in a nine-game point streak. … Wild forward Jason Pominville has seven points (two goals, five assists) in a five-game point streak.

 

What's next

Wild: At the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET; FS-N, FS-WI, SNW, NHL.TV)

Blues: Host the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; FS-MW, TSN3, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Wild's offense flourishes in 5-1 win against Blues

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