St. Louis Blues vs. Minnesota Wild: 2022 Round One, Game 2 Preview

The St. Louis Blues struck first after defeating the Minnesota Wild 4-0 in Game 1 of their first-round series – a spirited battle with a combined 46 penalty minutes. The series is set to be an emotional, heavyweight bout between two teams that combined for a 24-4-4 record in April. The Blues will look to take a 2-0 series lead heading back to St. Louis, while the Wild will look to even the score and turn the best-of-seven series into a best-of-five. 

St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild Playoff Round 1 Series Stats

2 Storylines: Blues

Special Teams Success

Game 1 was filled with hard hits, scrums, punches after the whistle, and power-play opportunities. On their first of six power plays, the Blues took a 1-0 lead thanks to David Perron’s goal in the final seconds of a roughing minor to Minnesota forward Jordan Greenway. Perron scored again in the second period to increase the Blues’ lead to 3-0 at the 16:30 minute mark on another penalty to Greenway.

While the Blues enjoyed success on the man advantage, the team had their share of killing penalties as the Wild were also awarded six power play opportunities. St. Louis’ penalty-killing units were put to work throughout the game and were successful in stopping all of the Wild’s attempts to score. Goaltender Ville Husso enjoyed his first playoff shutout. Turning aside all 37 shots, he became the first and only Blues goaltender to record a shutout in their postseason debut.

“It feels good to get the win, for sure,” Husso said. “I was a little nervous before, like normally, but got a good start for the game. Guys battled hard. The penalty kill was unreal. Power play was good, so it was a big win for us.”

Perron Leads Offensive Charge

Perron, 33, became the first Blues player to score a hat trick in the first game of a playoff series, accounting for three of his team’s four goals in Monday’s victory against a Wild team that boasted a 31-8-2 record at home. When asked about his hat trick, the veteran forward Perron said: “Yeah, after all these years, it’s a long way coming for many reasons, many ways, so obviously I’m proud of that. It’s super cool. I have a lot of pride wearing the ‘Blue Note,’ and yeah, I’ll leave it at that.”

When asked about Game 2, Perron stated: “[The] next game, I think it’s going to be a lot different. If they grab the first goal tonight, it’s probably a different game. It’s huge in playoffs to get the first one. We’ve just got to turn the page and get ready for the next one.”

2 Storylines: Wild

Spurgeon Avoids Suspension

After the loss, Wild captain Jared Spurgeon was fined $5,000 for a cross-check to forward Pavel Buchnevich. Issued by the Department of Player Safety, the fine was the maximum allowed under the NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.

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Spurgeon received a two-minute minor penalty and avoided a suspension on the dangerous play that shows signs of intent to injure. If Buchnevch had been injured as a result of the cross-check, Spurgeon likely would have been suspended. One of the cleaner players in the NHL, the 32-year-old defenseman has only served 10 penalty minutes in 65 games this season.

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Wild Confident in 5-on-5 Play

As Minnesota looks to even the series, head coach Dean Evason knows his team will need to stay out of the penalty box and stick to their game. After Monday’s game, he stated: “Special teams killed us. Five-on-five, we were real good. Real good. In both zones, all three zones, five-on-five. We just didn’t play there. We were four-on-four a ton … We were power play or penalty kill. And not a secret, they have not been good this year. So, if we’re going to have success, obviously, they have to get better.”

Related: Wild’s Self Control Falters in Game 1 Loss to Blues

The Wild will have their work cut out for them if they are forced to rely on their power play in this series. During the regular season, they converted 20.95% of their opportunities, good for 18th in the NHL. However, they are facing a Blues penalty-killing unit that ranked fifth with an 84.1% success rate.

Players to Watch

St. Louis: Brayden Schenn – One assist in Game 1. Three shots on goal and four hits. Schenn is going to be a big factor in this game and series with his physical style of play.

Minnesota: Kirill Kaprizov – Five shots in Game 1. The 25-year-old scored 47 goals in the regular season and could get a hat trick on Wednesday.

Projected Line Combinations

St. Louis Blues

Left WingCenterRight Wing
Pavel BuchnevichRobert ThomasVladimir Tarasenko
Brandon SaadRyan O’ReillyDavid Perron
Ivan BarbashevBrayden SchennJordan Kyrou
Alexi ToropchenkoLogan BrownNathan Walker
Left DefenseRight Defense
Nick LeddyColton Parayko
Torey KrugJustin Faulk
Niko MikkolaRobert Bortuzzo
Starting Goalie
Ville Husso

Minnesota Wild

Left WingCenterRight Wing
Kirill KaprizovRyan HartmanMats Zuccarello
Kevin FialaFrederick GaudreauMatthew Boldy
Jordan GreenwayJoel Eriksson EkMarcus Foligno
Nicolas DeslauriersTyson JostBrandon Duhaime
Left DefenseRight Defense
Jacob MiddletonJared Spurgeon
Jonas BrodinMathew Dumba
Jon MerrillDmitry Kulikov
Starting Goalie
Marc-Andre Fleury

Blues’ Next Game: Game 3, Friday, May 6 vs Minnesota Wild (8:30 PM CST)

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