The Minnesota Wild made a big comeback bid, but fell short in a 4-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues Sunday at the Xcel Energy Center. The Wild chased the game from the opening puck dropped and could not get back into it until final period.
The Wild (31-26-10) dominated the third period and got a couple goals, but came centimeters away from tying the game in the third period.
Ryan Suter got the Wild on the board with a backhand shot over the far side shoulder of Jake Allen at the 11:02 mark of the period. He held the puck in the offensive and drove to the net after sending a pass Zach Parise. He received the puck back and lifted the shot over the goaltender with Charlie Coyle providing traffic.
Matt Dumba got the Wild to within a goal 3 minutes, 38 seconds later by driving the net and tapping a pass from Coyle in for his 10th of the season. The Wild perfectly executed the rush. Dumba drove the net after dropping a pass to Mikko Koivu at the blue line and Coyle trailed the played perfectly for a clear path to the net.
Suter had the best chance to tie the game, but his shot from the point glanced off Allen’s glove and slid past the skate of Thomas Vanek and the post without hitting either. A few moments later, Blues rookie forward Robby Fabbri scored into the open net on a breakaway with 1 minute, 31 seconds left in the game.
The Blues (38-20-9) took a 3-0 after 30 minutes, 21 seconds of dominating play. They also benefitted from weak goaltending and a rule interpretation. Jori Lehtera got the Blues on the board at the 7:44 on a breakaway after intercepting a pass from Mike Reilly at the Wild blue line. He took a slap shot from the top of the circles and Devan Dubnyk was unable to close his legs in time.
The definition of “possession” and “control of the puck” became the key phrases midway through the first period when the Blues took a 2-0 lead. Ryan Reaves fired a long range, clear shot that was misplayed by Dubnyk. But, as Kyle Brodziak received a pass at the Wild blue line from Jay Bouwmeester he backed into the zone ahead of the puck. The linesmen determined that Brodziak had possession of the puck. The rule states a player can bring the puck into the offensive zone after his own skates enter, if he has possession and control of the puck. It looked pretty clear, especially in slow motion, that Brodziak didn’t control the puck until his skates were already in the zone. Dubnyk has voiced his displeasure before about referees and linesmen having to review a play on a small screen tablet, but this time he added another little more to the opinion.
“You’ve got the guy that made the call on the ice that is looking at the iPad and making the call again. It doesn’t really make much sense,” the Wild’s goaltender said. “You don’t have the guy on the ice making the call on an iPad that’s four inches big. It doesn’t make sense. You have technology elsewhere that people can have a look at it. You’re asking good referees that are proud guys to overturn calls that they just made. These are best referees in the world, hands down, but you’re asking a guy to go look at a video in front of 20,000 people and overturn a call he just made. It doesn’t make sense.”
The Blues took the seemingly insurmountable 3-0 lead at the 10:21 mark of the second period to chase Dubnyk in favor of Darcy Kuemper. David Backes took a shot off the rush that Dubnyk just punched back up the slot off his blocker. Patrick Berglund was there to gather the puck and fire it through the goaltender. All five back checkers for the Wild were watching the puck and left Berglund all by himself.
No. 3 – Darcy Kuemper. The Wild goaltender stopped 18 shots.
No. 2 – Jori Lehtera. The Blues forward scored a goal.
No. 1 – Patrik Berglund. The Blues forward scored a goal.