Blues defeat Wild in Game 6, win Western First Round series

ST. LOUISJordan Binnington made 25 saves, and the St. Louis Blues eliminated the Minnesota Wild with a 5-1 win in Game 6 of the Western Conference First Round at the Enterprise Center on Thursday.

Vladimir Tarasenko scored his fourth goal in two games for the Blues, who advanced to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs to face the Colorado Avalanche. St. Louis is the No. 3 seed in the Central Division; Colorado is No. 1.

“It was a tough battle,” Blues center Tyler Bozak said. “That’s a very good team over there. It’s kind of a shame we played in the first round of the playoffs. It was two of the top teams in the West and they deserve a lot of credit for the season they had. That was a really tough battle for us.Every game seemed like could have gone any way with a bounce here or there.We were lucky enough to come out on the winning end.That’s a great test for us and should prepare us well for the next round. “

Video: MIN @ STL, Gm6: Tarasenko’s nifty power-play goal

It was Binnington’s third straight win of the series after he replaced Ville Hussowho started Games 1-3.

“We had a good first period and kind of weathered the storm,” Binnington said. “They came out hard and they were playing desperate. I think we matched that, and we came out in the second period and played really hard.

“It’s a hard-fought series against a team that comes at you pretty hard, and we did a great job. We had guys step up, just a great team effort and it’s good to be at this point. Now we’re looking forward to the next challenge. “

Cam Talbot made 22 saves in his first start of the series after Marc-Andre Fleury started the first five games. Minnesota, eliminated in the first round for the fifth time in the past seven seasons, was the No. 2 seed in the Central.

“It [stinks], right, “Wild coach Dean Evason said.” They loved playing together. There’s no individuals, there’s no [complaining] on the bench, there’s no, ‘I should get this, I should be on the power play.’ They played for each other and that’s what’s so disappointing. It’s disappointing we didn’t win tonight and we didn’t win in the first round of the playoffs. When you’re that close, you’re like, ‘What’s going to happen now? Are we all going to be together or not? ‘ It’s tough. “

Talbot went 13-0-3 in his last 16 regular-season appearances.

“I was doing everything I could to stay ready,” Talbot said. “You don’t want to come in an elimination game, but you still want the opportunity to play during the playoffs. They gave me the opportunity. Just wasn’t good enough.”

[RELATED: Complete Wild vs. Blues series coverage]

Nick Leddy gave the Blues a 1-0 lead at 14:59 of the first period when he took a puck from the top of his own defensive zone circle, skated across the middle of the Wild blue line and fired a wrist shot past Talbot on the short side. Talbot appeared to be screened by defenseman Dmitry Kulikov on the play.

“The first goal was obviously big,” St. Louis forward David Perron said. “It kind of took some pressure off there. It allowed us to go out and kind of realized what we had to do better and play better in the second period. We had maybe a few too many turnovers in the first.”

The Wild said they felt they deserved a better fate than trailing after the first period.

“It was exactly what we were looking for; the first period was fantastic,” Evason said. “We did everything that we could ask. We played right, played hard, got chances, just didn’t score. They got that goal and we just uncharacteristically didn’t handle it very well. Likely the difference obviously in the game.”

The Blues outshot the Wild 21-5 in the second period when they scored three times.

Ryan O’Reilly‘s power-play goal at 9:26 made it 2-0, a shot from the slot after a pass from Brayden Schenn at the goal line.

Video: MIN @ STL, Gm6: O’Reilly finishes Schenn’s feed for PPG

Bozak made it 3-0 at 13:25 when he picked up a loose puck in the crease after Alexei Toropchenko‘s power move off the right edge.

Tarasenko’s power-play goal made it 4-0 at 18:36 when he was able to keep a puck alive off a clearing pass at the blue line, then took Perron’s cross-ice pass and beat Talbot with a wrist shot from the right circle .

Matt Dumba scored for Minnesota at 6:51 of the third to make it 4-1 on a one-time slap shot from the high slot.

Colton Parayko scored into an empty net at 18:19 to make it a 5-1 final.

“We knew it was going to be tough to close these guys out,” O’Reilly said. “A lot of emotion coming home, the building was electric. We were just kind of caught watching a bit [in the first period] and obviously ‘Binner’ did an amazing job shutting the door there early. ‘Leds’ makes a great play and a great goal and that just kind of helped us to kind of settle down and build our game after them kind of thinking they outplayed us going into the second. We knew if we started getting our game together, things would come and that’s exactly what happened. It was good from there. “

NOTES: Wild forward Kirill Kaprizov, who led all goal-scorers in the series with seven, was limited to five shot attempts and no points at 22:09; he was minus-2. … Talbot was 0-3-3 with a 5.06 goals-against average and .825 save percentage in his previous six starts against the Blues. … Wild forward Connor Dewar made his NHL playoff debut and played 10:15 in place of Nicolas Deslauriers. … Binnington is 10-1-1 in his career against Minnesota; he finished with a 1.67 GAA and .943 save percentage in the series. … Wild center Joel Eriksson Ek.took a stick to the mouth from Kulikov in the first period and left the game before returning for the second with a cage.

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