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Round 1

Blues need to button up defensively in Game 2

Giving up 52 shots in series-opening win against Wild not recipe for success

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The St. Louis Blues lead the best-of-7 Western Conference First Round against the Minnesota Wild but understand they need to be much better as the series progresses.

St. Louis received a stellar performance from goaltender Jake Allen, who made an NHL career-best 51 saves, the most saves against the Wild in Stanley Cup Playoff history, in a 2-1 overtime win Wednesday. But the Blues were outshot 52-26 and won 41 percent of the faceoffs, resulting in the Wild having a big edge in puck possession and offensive-zone time.

"Yeah, I think we'll be the first to admit we can play better," Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. "We'll have a discussion in here about what we can change in terms of limiting their shots. Fifty shots is a lot to give up, I know. It went into overtime, but they seemed like they wanted to be aggressive. We can be more aggressive as well."

Game 2 is Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN360, TVA Sports 3, FS-N, FS-MW).

Video: NHL Tonight breaks down game 1 of Blues vs. Wild

With all of the regulars, except for center Jori Lehtera, not taking the ice Thursday afternoon, the Blues coaching staff provided teaching tutorials with video sessions.

"We talked about a couple things, we looked at a couple things on video this morning," coach Mike Yeo said. "We'll watch some more things in video. It's a good team, so we're not surprised. When you have a game where you don't feel like you're at your best and you come away with the win, that's a pretty good feeling. But that said, we know it's going to be a tough challenge [Friday].

"Our focus is going to be continuing every game. We'll look at what we did right, we'll look at what we did not well enough, and we'll find a way to get a little bit better, and that's what we're on right now."

Video: STL@MIN, Gm1: Allen comes up big, stops 51 shots

The Blues got a boost from forward Vladimir Sobotka, who has two goals in two games since returning to St. Louis from the Kontinental Hockey League, including St. Louis' first goal in Game 1.

"I thought it was going to be a little harder for me to get on smaller ice," Sobotka said. "I thought it was going to be hard winning battles and stuff like that. I'm really happy for that."

Sobotka has helped fill the void left by injuries at center, including the loss of Paul Stastny, who has been sidelined by a foot injury since March 21 and is day to day, according to Yeo.

"Obviously Paul plays the same way," Pietrangelo said. "He's a tough guy to play against; [Sobotka] too. I think when we get him back in the lineup, we're going to have some forwards that are going to be really hard to play against."

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