ST. PAUL, Minn. — Ryan O’Reilly scored 2:27 into overtime and the St. Louis Blues beat the reeling Minnesota Wild 4-3 on Saturday night for their fourth straight win.
The defending champion Blues lead the Western Conference with 21 points, despite losing star Vladimir Tarasenko to injury five games ago. Jake Allen made 20 saves in his third start of the season.
Mackenzie MacEachern and Carl Gunnarsson each scored their first goal in the first period for the Blues, who tied the game at 3 early in the third period when Sammy Blais jammed the puck past Devan Dubnyk for his fifth score in 13 games. The crowd was irate at a non-call after Luke Kunin tripped in front of Blais, seconds before the goal.
Dubnyk stopped 25 shots for the Wild, who went to an extra session for the first time this season and had their three-game home winning streak stopped. O’Reilly skated between Zach Parise and Jared Spurgeon to find space for his winning shot, which gave the Blues a second victory over the Wild in four days.
Marcus Foligno, Kevin Fiala and Mats Zuccarello scored for the Wild, whose 4-9 record in October was the franchise’s worst first-month mark since the inaugural 2000-01 season when they went 2-7-3.
The Wild badly needed a fresh start with the calendar turn and a boost from the home crowd before hitting the road yet again for a four-game trip on an imbalanced early schedule that gave them only five home dates over their first 18 games.
Foligno’s one-timer put them on the board with just 2:26 elapsed, but Dubnyk gave one back to the Blues a mere 1:34 later when MacEachern’s initial shot glanced off his blocker and he knocked it in by trying to swipe his glove behind him at the fluttering puck. Three of the five goals that backup Alex Stalock allowed on Tuesday at Dallas were last touched by the Wild, who blew a 3-0 lead with 21 minutes to go and lost 6-3.
The Wild were outscored 39-20 after the first period in October, but Fiala took the first step toward reversing the trend by evening the game just 61 seconds after the intermission. He pivoted away from the boards and blindly sent a shot through traffic that Allen surely didn’t see. Then about 3 1/2 minutes later, the Wild took the lead with a power-play goal by Zuccarello, their most notable off-season addition who went scoreless in his first 12 games with his new team.
They believed they should’ve had a 4-2 edge at the second intermission, but Mikko Koivu’s goal was overturned by automatic replay review due to goaltender interference on Zach Parise for elbowing Allen. Wild coach Bruce Boudreau screamed at the officials in protest, and the boos reverberated around the arena.
The blueprint for a recovery for the Wild, whose six-year streak of making the playoffs ended after last season, sat on the bench to their right with a Blues team that had the worst record in the NHL as late as Jan. 2 before a historic turnaround culminated with the Stanley Cup title last June.
The Blues have picked up where they left off despite the devastating injury to Tarasenko, who will likely be out until April after surgery on his left shoulder. They started a four-game road trip after beating Columbus at home in overtime the night before, with Allen in net for the first time in seven games after losing his spot as the primary goalie during Jordan Binnington’s stellar rookie season. Allen has given up 11 goals in three starts.
The Blues, who entered the night ranked fourth in the NHL in power-play scoring, went 0 for 3. … Parise assisted on Fiala’s goal, his first helper of the season and first point in six games. … Eric Staal, who had only one assist in the first seven games for the Wild, has nine points in the last seven games.
Blues: Play at Vancouver on Tuesday. They lost 4-3 to the Canucks in a shootout at home on Oct. 17.
Wild: Play at Anaheim on Tuesday. They’re 1-8 on the road, with no home games for another 12 days.
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Dave Campbell, The Associated Press