Going Wild: Minnesota Eliminates St. Louis from NHL Playoffs
It may be too early to call the Minnesota Wild a team of destiny, but it's hard to resist the temptation after their dominating first round playoff victory over the St. Louis Blues.
The wild card Wild defeated the top seed Blues 4-1 Sunday, winning their opening series in the Stanley Cup playoffs four games to two. Minnesota advances to the second round against the Chicago Blackhawks. It will be the third straight year the teams have met in the playoffs.
Zach Parise, the heart and soul of the Wild, scored two goals and Vezina Trophy finalist Devan Dubnyk stopped 30 shots.
Minnesota took an early 1-0 on Parise's short handed goal at 7:14 of the first period. But the Blues controlled play in the second period before the Wild's Justin Fontaine went five hole on St. Louis goalie Jake Allen for a 2-0 lead on just 13 shots. The goal sent Allen to the bench for Brian Elliott.
St. Louis continued to bring pressure on Dubnyk and the Wild, and looked to steal momentum when former Sioux Falls Stampede star T.J. Oshie scored his only goal of the series with just 3.4 seconds left in the second period to make it 2-1.
But Minnesota took control for good when Parise scored his second of the game just 1:01 into the third period. Nino Niederreiter added an empty net goal for the Wild in the final minutes.
Sunday's win was the first time in franchise history the Wild have won a playoff series at home.
The schedule for the Western Conference semifinal series between Minnesota and Chicago will be released later this week. The Blackhawks eliminated the Wild in six games in the second round last season.