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Blues eliminate Wild with Game 5 OT win

Magnus Paajarvi scores at 9:42 to put St. Louis into second round against Predators

by Jessi Pierce / NHL.com Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Magnus Paajarvi scored 9:42 into overtime to give the St. Louis Blues a series-ending 4-3 win against the Minnesota Wild in Game 5 of the Western Conference First Round at Xcel Energy Center on Saturday.

"Really happy to finish it tonight," Blues coach Mike Yeo said. "[Minnesota's] a group that definitely ... I know it's tough they didn't get the win, but they gave us more than anything we could handle, and obviously Bruce [Boudreau (coach)] has done a great job, Chuck [Fletcher (general manager)] has done a great job and their team did a great job. They showed a lot of character."

St. Louis won the best-of-7 series 4-1 and will play the Nashville Predators in the second round.

Paajarvi took a backhand pass from Vladimir Sobotka in the slot and scored on goalie Devan Dubnyk. Paajarvi is the seventh Blues player to score a series-clinching overtime goal, the first since Pierre Turgeon in Game 7 of the 1999 Western Quarterfinals against the Phoenix Coyotes.

 

[WATCH: All Wild vs. Blues highlights | RELATED: Complete Minnesota vs. St. Louis series coverage]

 

"You don't get a whole lot of chances in OT," Paajarvi said. "Sobotka and [Jori] Lehtera really worked a good chance out for me, and that was nice to see it go in."

Minnesota was eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the first round for the second straight year. It finished the regular season second in the Western Conference with a Wild-record 106 points. 

"[I] just told them I was proud of their effort for the year," Boudreau said. "I know this is the part of the year that everybody including myself hates the most, when you put eight months into something and you don't get what you want. They never quit all year. When things were going bad, they still never quit, they kept pushing. 

"I thought when they made it 3-1 we could've said, 'Aww, heck. It was a valiant try.' They kept pushing and I thought the last three or four minutes of the third period I thought we could've had another one and we could've won the game."

Video: STL@MIN, Gm5: Wild, Blues shake hands at center ice

The Wild scored two goals in the third period to tie the game. Jason Zucker made it 3-3 with 5:01 remaining, after Mikko Koivu scored a power-play goal with 9:22 left. 

Vladimir Tarasenko, who was held scoreless through 265:04 of the series, scored at 7:16 of the first period to give the Blues a 1-0 lead. Alexander Steen made it 2-0 at 10:31 after Blues defenseman Colton Parayko intercepted a clearing attempt by Wild forward Charlie Coyle and fed Steen for a wrist shot to the corner. 

Ryan Suter scored at 18:31 to make it 2-1. It was the first 5-on-4 power-play goal for Minnesota in the series. 

Paul Stastny, who returned after missing 14 games with a knee injury, scored at 7:23 of the third period for a 3-1 lead. 

Jake Allen made 34 saves for the Blues. He allowed eight goals on 182 shots in the series, including 51 saves in a 2-1, Game 1 overtime win.

Video: STL@MIN, Gm5: Tarasenko tallies after crafty footwork

"It's playoff hockey at its finest, really. Ups and downs for both sides," Allen said. "It was a battle, it was a grind and we got it done."

Minnesota center Eric Staal left the game with 6:07 left in the second period after sliding headfirst into the boards. The Wild said he was stable and alert and was taken to the hospital for observation. 

 

Goal of the game

Sobotka pulled back on the puck and hit Paajarvi with a perfect pass for the game-winner. 

"It's such a good play, Sobotka's patience with the puck," Paajarvi said. "He's stronger than you think with the puck. My guy kind of went to him and he saw that and gave it to me. Super thrilled."

Video: STL@MIN, Gm5: Paajarvi slots home OT winner

 

Save of the game

Dubnyk stopped Patrik Berglund on a wraparound at 17:20 of the third period to keep the game tied 3-3.

Video: STL@MIN, Gm5: Dubnyk turns away Berglund, Perron late

 

Unsung performance of the game

Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon stopped the puck from crossing the goal line with his skate at 6:29 of the second period to keep it 2-1.

Video: STL@MIN, Gm5: Spurgeon saves a goal with his skate

 

Highlight of the game

Zucker got a step on the breakaway and used patience to beat Allen stick side for his first goal of the postseason.

Video: STL@MIN, Gm5: Zucker ties the game on beautiful move

 

They said it

"It's a best-of-7 series, if you get through you deserve it. I'm not going to take anything away from them, but I thought so too. I thought we outshot them, I don't know scoring chances, I'm not a big stat guy, but I thought we had the momentum there for the most part and it seemed like they had that one chance and they put it in." -- Wild captain Mikko Koivu

 

"It was a battle. It's just physical and had everything. There was offense, there was a lot of good defense on both sides, it was physical, it was tough, and every game was close. There wasn't a blowout game. Every game was basically one goal besides the 3-1 empty-netter, so it's going to be an even tougher series the next one. You saw what [Nashville] did to Chicago, obviously they're playing their best games of the year and they'll be ready." -- Blues goaltender Jake Allen

 

"Usually you remember what you last saw so, unfortunately, [we're] going to remember getting knocked out in five games." -- Wild forward Zach Parise

 

Need to know

Nashville swept the Chicago Blackhawks in their first-round series which ended Thursday. … Tarasenko is the fifth player to score at least 20 Stanley Cup Playoff goals for St. Louis (Brett Hull, Bernie Federko, Brian Sutter, Red Berenson). … The Blues are 35-31 in overtime during the playoffs (2-0 in 2017)‬. The Wild are 8-10. … Wild forward Erik Haula played 16:16 after missing Game 4 with an undisclosed injury. … Minnesota was eliminated by the Dallas Stars in six games.

 

What's next

Blues: Game 1 of Western Conference Second Round against Nashville Predators (TBD)

Wild: Season over

 

Video: Paajarvi sends Blues to Second Round in 4-3 OT win

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