The Wild have talking about tightening up their defense. They did that through the first period. However, a couple breakdowns in the second period gave the Blues the chance to pull ahead.
“It’s pretty tough right now to find the positive things,” Koivu said. “That’s one of them. That’s the only way in this league you can win - good defense for the full 60 minutes. I thought we did that pretty good, but two good chances and they capitalized.”
The two good chances came for one line. The Blues top line of T.J. Oshie, Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Sobotka got them and took advantage. That line was the best on the ice for either team.
“(They) are three players that know how to play the game the right way,” Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock said. “They’re all accountable defensively. They compete like hell on the puck. They have great chemistry. They make something from nothing all the time. It’s good to see. You’ve got really competitive guys who play way above their size. They’re tough to play against. Every shift they were out there, they were dangerous. They created scoring chances for us every shift.”
Oshie forced a turnover at the Wild blue line and raced in on a short breakaway off a pass from Schwartz. He tried to do a move and couldn’t get a lot on the shot, but found a way to get inside the far post.
Schwartz provided the game-winning goal by sending a wrist shot through Josh Harding at the 15:59 mark of the second period on an odd-man rush with one Wild defender back. Harding got a piece of the shot, but not enough to keep it out of the net.
The Blues (27-7-5) took over the game in the second period with a 9-5 edge in shots on goal and attempted 15 more shots than the Wild
The Wild (20-17-5) avoided the shutout with a goal by Ryan Suter. The Wild defenseman scored his second goal of the season with a shot from the point that found its way through traffic and into the net with just less than nine seconds remaining.
The Wild return to action Thursday against the Buffalo Sabres at the Xcel Energy Center.
No. 3 - Vladimir Sobotka. The Blues forward was the third part of the best line on the ice.
No. 2 - T.J. Oshie. The Blues forward scored a goal.
No. 1 - Jaden Schwartz. The Blues forward recorded a goal and an assist.
St. Louis…….0 2 0 - 2
Minnesota…..0 0 1 - 1
First Period - None. Penalties - None.
Second Period - 1, St. Louis, Oshie 6 (Schwartz), 6:49. 2, St. Louis, Schwartz 14 (Tarasenko, Elliott), 15:59. Penalties - Brodin, MIN (high sticking), :24; Jackman, STL (boarding), 18:02.
Third Period - 3, Minnesota, Suter 2 (Coyle, Koivu), 19:51. Penalties - Lapierre, STL (holding the stick), 2:23; Berglund, STL (cross checking), 11:22.
Shots on goal - St. Louis 7-9-7 23. Minnesota 9-5-11 25.
Goalies - St. Louis, Elliott (24-25). Minnesota, Harding (21-23). Referees - Marc Joanette, Ian Walsh. Linesmen - Scott Cherrey, David Brisebois.