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Postgame Hat Trick: Blues 2, Wild 1 (OT)

Allen makes 51 saves as Blues take Game 1 in St. Paul

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com

Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 2-1 overtime loss against the St. Louis Blues in Game 1 of their Stanley Cup Playoffs First-Round series at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Wednesday night:

1. The adage says that a goaltender needs to be a team's best player to have a chance this time of year. That was the case for the Blues (1-0) and Jake Allen on Wednesday.

Like they did a month ago in a 2-1 regular-season win at Xcel Energy Center, the Blues limited the Wild's grade-A chances in the opening 20 as both teams went through a bit of a feeling-out period. But the Wild came out firing in the second, putting eight of the frame's first nine shots on goal on Allen. 

Allen kept the Wild (0-1) off the board, however, providing enough time for Vladimir Sobotka to bank one in off Christian Folin's leg and past Devan Dubnyk for a 1-0 lead at 6:21.

That's when the onslaught continued. Minnesota peppered Allen with 52 shots, the most in a single game in franchise history.

"We had 90-some shots [attempts] at the net ... 52 shots on the net. I thought territorially we were pretty good," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "We played a lot of mistake-free chances, chances that would probably be quite in our favor, so that's what I'm taking out of it. But we're down 1-0. It was a heck of a game, and we'll just get back to it tomorrow."

Video: Boudreau Game 1 Postgame vs. Blues

Minnesota kept shooting at Allen for the remainder of the period, including one shift by Jason Zucker and Charlie Coyle late in the frame where the duo had at least a half dozen great scoring chances. The best of the bunch had the puck on Coyle's stick with a yawning net, but Allen somehow sprawled to rob him with the glove. 

In overtime, Allen robbed Coyle, denying him the five-hole, then got in the way of a shot where Coyle snapped his stick.

"We pressured them hard," Zucker said. "We crashed the net. We just couldn't find a way to put any in."

Despite killing two penalties in the second period, the Wild outshot the Blues 16-6 in the frame but couldn't solve Allen, who has been one of the NHL's best tendies since Feb. 1.

Only Zach Parise's goal late in regulation prevented the Blues from walking away with a Game 1 victory before the horn. 

Video: STL@MIN, Gm1: Parise nets tic-tac-toe play, ties game

"This time of year you look for things you can do better. It's disappointing we didn't get that one," Parise said. "I thought we played well, generated a lot, didn't really give up much. It's unfortunate when you come out on the losing side of one of those."

Allen stopped eight more shots in overtime, keeping it tied until Joel Edmundson's game-winner at 17:48 of the extra session lifted the Blues to the Game 1 victory.

2. Meanwhile, at the other end of the rink, Dubnyk was at times the forgotten man.

It took the Blues nearly 10 minutes to register their first shot on goal. In the third, it was Vladimir Tarasenko getting St. Louis' first shot nearly 6 minutes in. 

The Blues then went through another stretch where their only shot on goal was a dump-in from center ice. 

"Just part of the game. It's important to understand that goaltending is a reactive position and if you try to force guys to shoot on you, usually you're going to end up behind. Let things come to you," Dubnyk said. "If we're spending most of our time in the other end, that's a good way of defending, too. You get the puck in the other end, the other team can't score. You've got to make sure you stay sharp as you can and try not to get running around."

Dubnyk was there when he needed to be, however.

With the Blues clinging to a 1-0 lead and just over three minutes left in regulation, Dubnyk stuck the right pad out to deny Tarasenko, who was all alone with the puck on top of the crease.

Video: STL@MIN, Gm1: Dubnyk shuts the door on Tarasenko

"We [expected] the kind of game we got today," Boudreau said. "I expect the rest of the series will be the same, tight-checking, two good goalies going at it."

3. Minnesota's penalty kill was outstanding, holding the NHL's eighth-best power play during the regular season off the scoreboard.

It was especially effective during a 3-minute, 55-second stretch of the second period, when Folin was tagged for a high stick. With five seconds remaining in that penalty, Ryan Suter launched a puck into the crowd, keeping the Wild's PK on the ice for another two-minute stretch.

"[The penalty killers] were good. We got the clears when we needed to," Boudreau said. "The crowd was really good. Every time we cleared it, they got into it, and I think that got the boys a little psyched up or pumped up."

Video: Wild Locker Room Postgame vs St. Louis

With St. Louis already up a goal and Jake Allen being Jake Allen on the other end, a two-goal deficit would have been a steep climb. 

Instead, Minnesota killed both penalties (and another in the first period). Minnesota also killed St. Louis' lone power play in overtime. Unfortunately for the Wild, it wasn't able to capitalize on the momentum it generated from solid kills. 


Loose pucks

• Minnesota held a considerable edge in the faceoff circle, winning 59 percent of draws.

• The Wild outhit the Blues 35-18.

• Dubnyk finished with 24 saves.

• Parise had a game-high seven shots on goal. Zucker and Granlund had six apiece. 

• Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz tallied assists on Edmundson's winner. Alexander Steen also had an assist.

• Attendance: 19,168


He said it

"It's strange, a game like that when you do tie it late, it feels good and you think there's a good opportunity to win in overtime. But that's playoff hockey. Sometimes it's a strange game that we weren't able to get more goals, the way we were putting pucks to the net and crashing the net. The most important thing is that we keep doing what we're doing. It's easy to get frustrated and start changing your approach and thinking you've got to do something different to score goals. If we play like that every game, it should be the right outcome most of the time." -- Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk


They said it

"We did a good job as a group. We came in here, we still had a good attitude and that's gonna happen. It's tough; it's hockey. They had a good push there in the third and good play by them. We came back, we thought we had a pretty decent overtime and a greasy goal to win. That's usually what it takes once it gets to the extra frames." -- Blues goaltender Jake Allen on rebounding after Minnesota's goal late in regulation


Three stars

* Jake Allen

** Joel Edmundson

*** Devan Dubnyk

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