After a dramatic come-from-behind victory in Colorado to start the season, the Wild seemed to be doing things the easy way against the Blues on Saturday night. They parlayed a couple of lucky bounces in the second period into a 3-1 lead. The third period however, was about as ugly as they come. Wild defenders refused to put zone exit passes on the sticks of their forwards, instead resorting to the ol' off the glass and out routine that just meant the Blues stuffing the puck right back down their throat.
Eventually all of the running around led to a Thomas Vanek double-minor, which, when you're playing against a guy like Vladamir Tarasenko, is never a good thing. The Blues pulled to within a goal of the Wild on the ensuing power play and the ice tilted ever more in their favor. 30 seconds after the Tarasenko goal Parise took a hooking penalty that seemed destined to end up as another Blues power play goal. Personally, the Wild looked so terrible up to this point in the period, I thought Yeo might take a timeout at this point to calm things down before a massive penalty kill (especially after things looked so chaotic during the Vanek PK). No timeout was needed however as the Wild penalty killers who led the league last year turned in a solid effort all around during the Parise penalty.
Suter got things started on the kill by burying David Backes along the wall and casually skating away with the puck:
Next it was Ryan Carter smartly applying heavy pressure on Tarasenko who was moving into a prime scoring area in the middle of the ice.
Devan Dubnyk then held court with a great positional save off a deflection. It was the only save he had to make on this penalty kill
And to cap things off, Scandella bulldozed Steen along the wall forcing a turnover to Zucker who made the final clear of the penalty kill.
All-in-all the game itself was an ugly one from the Wild who were basically dominated for two periods. The goals scored on Dubnyk were on the soft-ish side, but he came up big when he needed to in the third period. If the Wild had failed to kill the Parise penalty it's hard to believe they would have had another offensive push in them to regain the lead. Even without superstar penalty killer Kyle Brodziak, the Wild penalty kill proved it can lock things down when needed.