Well, that is that. The St Louis Blues defeat the Minnesota Wild in six games after a huge 5-1 win at home. It was only a week ago the Wild had a 2-1 series lead and were outscoring the Blues 11-3 through two games. The Blues made the right adjustments and switched out Ville Husso for Stanley Cup winner Jordan Binnington, and the rest is history.
St. Louis Sends The Wild Home After Eliminating Them in Game 6
Blues Find Their Goalie
The St. Louis Blues were completely lost in net after Game 3. It was hard to understand how Ville Husso would hold one of the league’s best scoring teams to zero goals in one game, then give up 11 in the next two. This made it plausible for Jordan Binnington to take over the crease, and man did he play well. In three games, ¨Binner¨ posted a 3-0 record, a 1.67 GAA, and a .943 SV%. This was definitely enough to finish off Minnesota and move on to face the mighty Colorado Avalanche in the second round. The Blues will keep Binnington in net for Game 1 against the Avalanche, and if he keeps playing the way he did against the Wild, we could be in for a great series.
Blues Defense Stepping Up
The Blues were extremely thin on the blueline and the Wild took advantage of it early in the series. Around Game 4 though, it seemed the Wild couldn’t solve the AHL calibre blueline. Calle Rosen and Scott Perunovich stepped up massively and are huge reasons why the Blues eliminated the Wild in six games. By Game 5, Nick Leddy and Robert Bortuzzo returned and put a blanket over the Wild offence.
Expect youngster Scott Perunovich to quarterback the St. Louis powerplay in at least Game 1 of their second-round series against the Avalanche, or at least until Torey Krug can return from an injury he sustained in Game 3 against Minnesota.
Minnesota Disappoints Yet Again
The Minnesota Wild are yet again out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs after the first round. After an amazing season and creating the best team in franchise history, they still can’t advance past the first round. The Wild broke 40 franchise records this season, and multiple players had career years including upcoming RFA Kevin Fiala who had 85 points in 82 games played, and veteran winger Mats Zuccarello who had 79 points in 70 games played. But even after acquiring Marc-Andre Fleury at the deadline, the Wild still can’t advance.
It seems as if the Wild will never win another playoff series again, having only advanced past the first round one time since 2015 and three times in 22 years of existence.
St. Louis Proves Worthy
The Blues proved themselves worthy of a Stanley Cup dark horse after beating Minnesota. The series win took extreme guts, facing adversity nearly the whole series. The Blues came out hot in Game 1 and took a series lead. They then lost a few key defensemen and got blown out in two straight games including the playoff home opener. This did not rattle the mind of the players or coaches though, as they won three straight. No part of the series was a fluke and the Blues deserved to win and they did.
Player Of The Series
This title belongs to Kirill Kaprizov. After a bad showing in last year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, Kaprizov came ready to play this series and at times seemed like the only player on the Wild trying to win. The young star had seven goals and one assist in six games along with a hat-trick in Game 2. Kirill will be a star for years to come and it will be exciting to watch him grow.