Minnesota scored two empty-net goals to secure a 4-2 victory in Game 1 of its series with the Blues, Thursday night in St. Louis. Jason Zucker started the scoring, before Matt Dumba added a power-play goal. Mikael Granlund netted the game winner with an empty-net goal before and Jason Pominville scored into the empty net on a power play. Devan Dubnyk made his NHL playoff debut, earning the win with 19 saves. The two teams will meet again Saturday in St. Louis for Game 2 at 2:00 p.m. CT on NBC (KARE 11) and KFAN 100.3 FM.
Minnesota began its third consecutive postseason – its longest stretch in team history – and sixth overall. It is the first time the Wild has faced St. Louis in the postseason.
Minnesota won Game 1 of a series for the first time since its first-ever playoff game (4/10/03 at COL). The Wild is now 2-7 in Game 1 play, including five OT losses.
The Wild earned its third victory in its last 19 playoff road games. This season, Minnesota set franchise records in single-season road wins (24) and points (50). The Wild also set a franchise record and tied the NHL record with 12 consecutive road wins (2/18–4/9).
The Wild went 2-for-4 on the power-play, while stopping both of St. Louis’ power-play opportunities. Minnesota led the NHL with an 86.3% penalty kill rate this season. The Wild successfully killed 32 consecutive opponent power plays, 1/27–2/22, posting a 90.8% RK rate (89-of-98) in 36 games following the NHL All-Star Break.
Minnesota outshot the Blues, 21-21, T-8th for its fewest shots ever allowed in a playoff game, including a 14-4 advantage in the second period. The four shots allowed by the Wild in the middle stanza were T-8th for the fewest allowed in a single playoff period in team history. The Blues did not register a single shot in the final 8:32 of the second frame. Minnesota ranked fourth in the NHL this season with 27.6 shots against/game.
Minnesota blocked 20 St. Louis shots, one shy of its most blocked shots ever in a single playoff game.
Jason Pominville earned the primary assist on the game-winner before scoring a power-play empty-net goal. The game marked his seventh career multi-point playoff game and he now has 11 points (3-8=11) in his last 12 playoff games.
Zach Parise assisted on the Wild’s final two goals to earn his 16th career multi-point playoff game. He leads all Wild players with 60 points (26-34=60) in 80 career playoff games. Despite missing eight games, the alternate captain led the Wild this season in goals (33), points (62), PPG (11) and shots (259). His plus-21 rating set a franchise record for highest season rating amongst all Wild forwards in team history.
Mikael Granlund scored the game-winning goal. He is now T-1st in franchise history with two career playoff winners, joining Nino Niederreiter and Wes Walz. Granlund scored the OT winner for the Wild last season, in the team’s 1-0 victory in Game 3 of its Round 1 series against Colorado.
Playing in his first career NHL playoff game, Devan Dubnyk made 19 saves to earn the win. He allowed two goals tonight after allowing two goals or less in 29-of-39 games for the Wild in the regular season. He went 18-0-1 with the Wild this season when Minnesota scored at least three goals.
Jason Zucker scored the first goal of the series. He now has two goals and an assist in six career playoff games. In just 51 games (broken clavicle) this season, he ranked T-3rd on the Wild with 21 goals. The Wild went 12-3-2 when Zucker scored at least one goal this season.
Playing in his first career NHL playoff game, Matt Dumba scored a power-play goal. The 20-year-old set a franchise record for highest plus/minus rating (plus-13) by a rookie defenseman in franchise history, leading all NHL rookie defensemen this season. He ranked third amongst NHL rookie defensemen in goals (8), T-3rd in GWG (2) and fifth in points (16) and shots (86).
Mikko Koivu set a franchise record by skating in his 30th career playoff games for the Wild, beginning his sixth postseason. He had been tied with Marian Gaborik (29).
Jaden Schwartz and Alexander Steen scored for St. Louis while Jake Allen earned the loss after stopping 25-of-27 shots.