Wild stumbles again as St. Louis sends a message

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 28, 2014 - 5:35 AM

T.J. Oshie’s hat trick supplied the offense, and his teammates provided plenty of supporting toughness as St. Louis beat the Wild for a ninth consecutive time.

– Everybody in the St. Louis Blues’ dressing room talked Thursday about sending a loud and clear message to the Wild.

Just in case the crumbling team from Minnesota fell into the eighth playoff spot and a likely first-round matchup with the big, bad, NHL-leading Blues, defenseman Barret Jackman said it was time to “throw everything at them and put doubt in their mind.”

Like there wasn’t already doubt.

The Blues beat the Wild for a ninth consecutive time Thursday night, and this 5-1 loss was like most every one of the Wild’s losses at Scottrade Center.

Quick, painful and absolutely convincing.

The Wild hasn’t won in regulation in St. Louis since Oct. 2007, a span of 12 games (3-7-2).

“We talked before the game about how that’s a team we could face in the first round. We wanted to make it tough on them, and I don’t think we did that,” said Zach Parise, who erased Ryan Miller’s shutout bid with the Wild down 5-0 in the third period. “They play a frustrating style of hockey. They’re in your face all over. There’s not a lot of room in the offensive zone.”

It was the Wild’s ninth loss in 12 games (3-5-4) since the March 5 trade deadline. Its position in the standings is becoming increasingly shaky.

With a shootout victory over New Jersey, the eighth-place Coyotes pulled within one point of the Wild heading into Saturday’s Wild-Coyotes showdown. That means the Wild is perilously close to facing the Blues in the first round, and that’s only if this rickety team doesn’t blow its playoff spot.

The ninth-place Stars are six points behind and have played two fewer games.

The Blues did everything to get in the Wild’s grill, from incessant post-whistle scrums to nasty net-front, stick-swinging battles. T.J. Oshie played with swagger and scored his first career hat trick. His sidekick — brash, hard-nosed captain David Backes — cross-checked little Jared Spurgeon, crushed little Mikael Granlund and ruthlessly trash-talked goalie Darcy Kuemper from the bench.

Kuemper initiated things with Backes by cross-checking him at the goalmouth, then got in his face.

“That’s where I’ve played a long time,” Backes said. “When I feel disrespected, I’m going to stand my ground and see if there’s any response.”

Said Kuemper: “I was just competing for sightlines, and he’s a competitor and I’m a competitor.”

Defenseman Ryan Suter said, “I thought we came out flying,” and the Wild did have an 8-1 shot advantage 3½ minutes into the game, including a five-shot, scoreless power play. Minutes later, Oshie, who hails from Warroad, Minn., scored easily.

But the way the game unraveled was unbelievable even by Wild standards. Late in the first, Cody McCormick — acquired to stand up to gruff teams such as St. Louis — got away with elbowing Kevin Shattenkirk and drew a four-minute power play. It was a golden opportunity to either tie the score or take the lead.

Instead, the Wild didn’t register a shot and Spurgeon coughed the puck up to Oshie for a shorthanded breakaway goal and a 2-0 St. Louis lead with 24 seconds left in the first period.

“It was more of a message goal,” Oshie said. “That was a questionable play by them that got the whole thing started.”

From that point, coach Mike Yeo said, “[The Blues] smelled blood and they went after it.”

The Wild’s power play was 0-for-6. It gave up a shortie. Its penalty kill was scored on twice and has allowed 11 power-play goals on 31 chances the past 12 games (64.6 percent).

“Our special teams have been terrible,” Suter said. “We have to figure that out, or we’re not even going to make the playoffs.”

  • related content

  • Video: Wild Minute: Wild in a desperate situation

    Thursday March 27, 2014

    The Wild lost for the 9th time in 12 games by getting clobbered in St. Louis

  • BOXSCORE: St. Louis 5, Wild 1

    Thursday March 27, 2014

  • Wild's wild-card playoff push

    Thursday March 27, 2014

    Wild-CARD playoff pushWestern conferenceTeam Games left Points7. Wild 8 858. Phoenix 8 849. Dallas 10 7910. Vancouver 8 78THURSDAY’S RESULTSSt. Louis 5, Wild 1Phoenix 3, New Jersey 2 (SO)Vancouver...

  • Kuemper struggles again in net

    Friday March 28, 2014

    One night after pulling Kuemper in a loss to Vancouver, the Wild coach threw the rookie into the lion’s den Thursday night against the St. Louis Blues.

  • Wild-St. Louis game recap

    Thursday March 27, 2014

    Star Tribune’s Three Stars1. T.J. Oshie, Blues: The pride of Warroad had a hat trick, including a shorthanded breakaway goal.2....

  • Postgame: Wild humbled, exposed in St. Louis

    Friday March 28, 2014

    The Wild got clobbered by St. Louis in its 9th loss in 12 games

  • St. Louis Blues' T.J. Oshie (74) and Minnesota Wild's Ryan Suter (20) reach for a loose puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, March 27, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

  • St. Louis Blues' T.J. Oshie (74) scores a short-handed goal past Minnesota Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper (35) as Wild's Jared Spurgeon watches during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, March 27, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Houston - LP: D. Keuchel 0 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: B. McCarthy 3
Cleveland - LP: C. Kluber 1 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: P. Hughes 4
Detroit - LP: D. Price 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: A. Cobb 1
Arizona - LP: O. Perez 0 FINAL
Washington - WP: R. Soriano 1
San Francisco - LP: R. Vogelsong 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: T. Wada 2
Atlanta 7 Top 5th Inning
Cincinnati 0
LA Angels 1 Top 7th Inning
Boston 0
San Francisco 0 Top 1st Inning
Chicago Cubs 0
San Diego - T. Ross 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - C. Kershaw
Pittsburgh 0 2nd Qtr 0:59
Philadelphia 17
Carolina 8/22/14 6:30 PM
New England
NY Giants 8/22/14 6:30 PM
NY Jets
Jacksonville 8/22/14 6:30 PM
Detroit
Oakland 8/22/14 7:00 PM
Green Bay
Chicago 8/22/14 9:00 PM
Seattle
Tampa Bay 8/23/14 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 8/23/14 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8/23/14 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
Montreal 8/22/14 7:30 PM
Winnipeg
Toronto 8/23/14 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Washington 68 4th Qtr 0:29
Indiana 73
San Antonio 8:00 PM
Minnesota
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close