O’Reilly scores overtime winner, Blues beat Wild 4-3
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Wild could have used that two-score lead they believed they had late in the second period.
As soon as the goal was waved off, the St. Louis Blues regained control, a sure sign of two teams skating in opposite directions.
Ryan O’Reilly scored 2:27 into overtime and the Blues beat the reeling Wild 4-3 on Saturday night for their fourth straight win without injured star Vladimir Tarasenko.
“We just stick with our game and find ways to chip away at it and get some greasy goals. If it takes overtime, it takes overtime,” said goalie Jake Allen, who made 20 saves during his first start in seven games.
The defending champion Blues, who lost Tarasenko five games ago for at least five months following surgery on his left shoulder, are tied for the Western Conference lead with Edmonton. They started a four-game road trip in resilient fashion, having beaten Columbus at home in overtime the night before, and improved to 6-0-3 in one-goal decisions this season.
“We’re definitely comfortable in high-pressure situations,” O’Reilly said.
Mackenzie MacEachern and Carl Gunnarsson each scored their first goal in the first period for the Blues, who tied the game early in the third when Sammy Blais jammed the puck past Devan Dubnyk for his fifth score in 13 games.
The crowd was irate at a non-call after Luke Kunin tripped in front of Blais, seconds before the goal, and Wild coach Bruce Boudreau drew a penalty for the team by screamed at the officials in protest. The frustration was compounded by Mikko Koivu’s goal that was earlier overturned by automatic replay review due to goaltender interference on Zach Parise for elbowing Allen while he screened him in front of the net.
“He was moving into Zach, so I don’t understand the call,” Boudreau said.
Dubnyk stopped 25 shots for the Wild, who went to an extra session for the first time this season and had their three-game home winning streak stopped. O’Reilly deked Parise and darted between him and Jared Spurgeon to find space for his winning wrist shot, which gave the Blues a second victory over the Wild in four days.
“I saw they were kind of tired, and you could see they were waiting on our change,” O’Reilly said. “So I just kind of had a little chance to build some speed and then attack. That’s what you’re looking for, catching a team flat-footed.”
The Wild lost their steam earlier than that, though, after Koivu’s goal was waved off.
“That’s a joke,” Dubnyk said. “I’ve said it over and over: The decisions you see made on the reviews, you just never know what you’re getting. That’s probably the worst I’ve seen.”
The Wild badly needed a fresh start with the calendar turn and a boost from the home crowd before hitting the road yet again for a four-game trip on an imbalanced early schedule that gave them only five home dates over their first 18 games.
Foligno’s one-timer put them on the board with just 2:26 elapsed, but Dubnyk gave one back to the Blues a mere 1:34 later when MacEachern’s initial shot glanced off his blocker and he knocked it in by trying to swipe his glove behind him at the fluttering puck. Three of the five goals backup Alex Stalock allowed earlier this week at Dallas were last touched by the Wild, who blew a 3-0 lead with 21 minutes to go and lost 6-3.
The Wild were outscored 39-20 after the first period in October, but Fiala took the first step toward reversing the trend by evening the game just 61 seconds after the intermission. He pivoted away from the boards and blindly sent a shot through traffic that Allen surely didn’t see. Then about 3½ minutes later, the Wild took the lead with a power-play goal by Zuccarello, their most notable offseason addition who went goalless in his first 12 games with his new team but scored for the second straight contest.
“You’ve got to create your own bounces and luck,” Zuccarello said, “and we haven’t gotten that yet.”
NOTES: The Blues, who entered the night ranked fourth in the NHL in power-play scoring, went 0 for 3. … Parise assisted on Fiala’s goal, his first helper of the season and first point in six games.
Blues: Play at Vancouver on Tuesday. They lost 4-3 to the Canucks in a shootout at home on Oct. 17.
Wild: Play at Anaheim on Tuesday. They’re 1-8 on the road, with no home games for another 12 days.