Two goals 21 seconds apart doom Blues in 3-2 loss to Wild
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Charlie Coyle scored twice, including 21 seconds after a power-play goal by Zach Parise late in the second period, and the Minnesota Wild picked up where they left off last spring against St. Louis with a 3-2 victory over the Blues on Saturday night.
Devan Dubnyk made 30 saves for the Wild, who eliminated the Central Division champion Blues in the first round of the playoffs last season in six games and held on for the win in their home opener despite being outshot 13-1 over the final 20 minutes.
St. Louis star Vladimir Tarasenko scored on a power play early in the third period, after a double-minor penalty on Thomas Vanek for high-sticking, and Alexander Steen had the first goal for the Blues. But the defense had a couple of costly lapses in front of Jake Allen, who stopped 16 shots.
The crowd taunted Allen by chanting his last name a few times, repeating the jeer heard here in the Western Conference quarterfinals last season, but he was hardly at fault for the pucks that slipped past him. Allen stopped a pair of breakaways, too, by Coyle and Jason Zucker.
Coyle gave the Wild the lead with eight seconds left in the first period on a pure hustle goal, when he split Carl Gunnarsson and Kevin Shattenkirk and chipped the puck to himself for a slick backhand flip into the net.
With the Blues back at full strength following Parise’s go-ahead goal, Ryan Suter’s slap shot pinged off the left post. Vanek, who was given initial credit for the goal, snagged the skidding puck and sent a centering pass to a charging Coyle for the two-score lead.
Coach Ken Hitchcock used his challenge, seeking a review of whether Coyle interfered with Allen before the puck crossed the goal line, but the call on the ice was confirmed, forcing the Blues to forfeit their timeout.
Parise had a hat trick for the Wild on Thursday at Colorado.
The Blues brought back Hitchcock following their latest early exit from the playoffs, aiming for a more aggressive, physical style. One of the pieces of this approach was the signing of center Kyle Brodziak, who played the last six seasons for the Wild and was honored with a brief video tribute and a scoreboard close-up so he could smile for the camera during a break in the action.
NOTES: Blues forward Robby Fabbri left in the first period with an upper-body injury. … Parise has 13 goals and six assists in 23 career games against the Blues, including last year’s playoff series. … Tarasenko had nine goals in 10 games against the Wild last season, including the playoffs.