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Wild escape St. Louis with 3-2 win, finish road trip 5-2

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NHL: Minnesota Wild at St. Louis Blues Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Wild wrapped up their franchise long 7 game road trip this afternoon with a matinee game in St. Louis. Just seven days ago, the Wild dominated the Blues 5-1 at Enterprise Center. The Wild built an early 2-0 lead, and never looked back. After their dominating performance in Anaheim, the Wild traveled to St. Louis Saturday and didn’t skate Sunday morning because of the early start time. Could that haunt the Wild? Let’s find out.

1st Period:

The Wild would take some time getting their legs underneath them, and if it wasn’t for Dubnyk, it could’ve been a lot worse than 1-0 St. Louis after 20 minutes of play. Don’t be fooled though, the Wild had their fair chance of scoring opportunities. However, a breakdown between Niederreiter and Suter would result in a goal late for the Blues. Goals in the first minute and last minute of play kills a team’s momentum. A bad change and not getting the puck out would give Sundqvist the only goal in the period.

The Wild’s best chance of the period came as Granlund had a wide open net and he couldn’t finish. He had the whole net to work with and he would shoot it right into Johnson.

2nd Period:

The Blues would not have the lead to start the 2nd period for long. Just how short was the lead? Two minutes and 43 seconds. A fluky play as Nino put the puck on net, it hit the turnbuckle where the post and crossbar meet, and Parise finished with a spin-o-rama and just like that it’s tied at 1.

Just 25 seconds later, Eriksson Ek added a goal with his 1st of the season off a rebound shot from Greenway and just like that the Wild would gain a 2-1 lead just a minute forty-four into the 2nd period. However, that Wild lead would be short as well. Just before the midway point of the game, Alex Pietrangelo would join the rush and release a bomb from just inside the right circle to beat Dubnyk.

After that Blues goal at the midway point, no scoring would occur and the Wild and Blues would head to the 3rd tied a 2. Shots after 40 minutes were 19-14 in favor of St. Louis.

3rd Period:

You could tell the Wild were wrapping up the 7 game road trip the first 5 minutes of the game. Very slow. However, Staal would just throw the puck in front of the net, and the bouncing puck would wind up on the stick of Gralund, and Mikael would make this one count by tucking it right inside the right post. Wild took the 3-2 lead with 12 minutes remaining.

From that point on, the Wild escaped St. Louis with a 3-2 victory to go 5-2 on this franchise record road trip. Ten wins in the last 12 games for the Wild and they also move to a league best 8-3-1 when the opposing team scores first. With the win, the Wild also move into sole position of 3rd place in the NHL behind Nashville and Tampa.

Aching bodies

Along with this long road trip, the bodies of the Wild players also took even more of a beating by blocking 23 shots tonight. 12 different players would register a blocked shot this afternoon in St. Louis. The Wild will be coming home for 7 of their next 9 games. That will feel nice after this lengthy grinding road trip.