ST. LOUIS – The Wild, the second-highest-scoring team in the NHL during the regular season, a team that scored four or more goals 34 times and five or more 22 times, has scored three goals in three games and nearly 10 periods in the Western Conference quarterfinals with the St. Louis Blues.
This is why the Wild trails 3-0 in the best-of-seven series.
“We’re not playing bad,” defenseman Ryan Suter said. “We just can’t score right now. If we can find a way to score a goal [and get a lead], I think it’s a different game. We have chances, but obviously chances aren’t good enough.”
After 90-plus shot attempts in Game 1, the Wild had another 79 to St. Louis’ 46 in Game 3. But once again Jake Allen was a rock. He has stopped 114 of 117 shots in the series.
“He’s fantastic,” Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo said. “I’m not very good with words. I don’t use big words. I’ll just say fantastic’s about the biggest one I can figure out. Lights-out, I guess.”
Blues coach Mike Yeo said he does his best to stay out of Allen’s way.
“I say, ‘Hi, morning and good job,’ ” Yeo said. “That’s about it right now. I don’t want to mess anything up.”
The Wild continues to have trouble getting inside of the Blues’ big defensemen.
“They pack it in pretty tight,” said Charlie Coyle, who scored the Wild’s goal in Sunday’s 3-1 loss. “We’ve been saying it the last three games. It’s kind of getting old, obviously. We’ve got to find a way to get pucks through. We need more traffic, get inside their ‘D’ men.
“We’ve got to find ways to score whatever it is. It’s now or never. Pretty tired of talking about it, we’ve just go to go out and prove it.”
Zach Parise and Coyle are the only two who have scored in the series.
A time for changes
The Wild made two lineup changes.
Defenseman Nate Prosser made his series debut and was paired with Jonas Brodin. Right winger Ryan White made his Wild playoff debut for rookie Joel Eriksson Ek.
White played on the right side of Nino Niederreiter and former Coyotes teammate Martin Hanzal, and Erik Haula moved to fourth-line center between Chris Stewart and Jason Pominville.
Defenseman Christian Folin, a minus-2 in two games, was scratched, along with Jordan Schroeder, Alex Stalock, Victor Bartley and Eriksson Ek.
The Niederreiter-Hanzal-White line helped give up two 2-on-1s in the first period that led to two Suter penalties. In the second, White was called for a penalty (Hanzal actually took it) that led to the game-winning goal.
Still, coach Bruce Boudreau got heated after the game when asked about the play of the line.
“If you’re looking for me to criticize our team, it’s not going to happen,” Boudreau said. “We were friggin’ good tonight, and we didn’t get the breaks. So quit trying to put words in our mouths that make us look like we’re bad.”
Yeo, the former Wild coach, and former Wild center Kyle Brodziak are big baseball fans and were big Twins fans when they lived in the Twin Cities.
Now in St. Louis, Brodziak has been wearing a Cardinals cap, and recently, Yeo ended a news conference by saying, “Go Cards!” on Opening Day.
“I’m actually a Red Sox fan,” Brodziak said of the team that beat the Cardinals in the 2004 World Series. “I’d wear that hat after I signed here, and I swear every single day I’d get a comment. Like, one day I’m walking around and a lady said, ‘Boy, you’ve got a lot of nerve wearing that hat around here.’
“So I … started wearing a Cardinals hat.”
• With Iowa’s AHL season over, a number of contracted players will be recalled Tuesday, including defensemen Gustav Olofsson and Mike Reilly and forwards Alex Tuch and Tyler Graovac. Luke Kunin will likely also join, but he can’t play because his contract starts next season.