The St. Louis Blues furious come-from-behind win over the Wild in Game 5 at Xcel Energy Center gave them a 3-2 series lead and the coverage in St. Louis has been quick to note just how crucial that edge is in a seven-game series, and how Valdimir Tarasenko's hat trick was able to counter Kirill Kaprizov's two goal night.

The Wild will be on the road for Game 6 Thursday night (8:30 p.m., BSN, TNT) at Enterprise Center.

Here's how the series is being written about in the St. Louis media.

  • In the most critical period of the most critical game, with control of the series in the balance, Blues' right winger Vladimir Tarasenko proved his greatness.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: The statistics tell you that when a best-of-7 series is tied two games apiece, the winner of Game 5 goes on to win the series more than 79 percent of the time.

With that in mind, advantage St. Louis. Getting a third period hat trick from Vladimir Tarasenko – including two huge goals early in the period - the Blues erased a 2-1 Minnesota lead for a 5-2 victory before a loud and sold out crowd at Xcel Energy Center.

As a result, the Blues are now just one victory away from erasing the Wild in this series, with Game 6 on Thursday at Enterprise Center.

Just when you thought the Blues had no answer for Kirill "The Thrill" Kaprizov, who scored both Minnesota goals on first period power plays, Tarasenko stepped up and said: I got this. The hat trick was his second in postseason play and seventh overall as an NHL player.

Read the full story.

  • This has been a thrilling series, but why, exactly, are two of the top four teams in the Western Conference playing in the first round?

Benjamin Hochman, sports columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: I don't like this first-round playoff matchup.

Well, let's be clear. I love this matchup — Blues! Wild! Two of the top-four teams in the conference! — but not in the first round.

Each team fought too hard in the regular season to have the other as an opponent right off the bat.

But that's the way the National Hockey League does it.

And how no other major league does it.

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  • The Blues may have won Game 5, but their sloppy first and second period was more about the Wild missing chances than St. Louis grabbing control.

Todd Panula of Bleedin' Blue: Things did not look much better in the second period. St. Louis came out sluggish at first, with several bad shifts by key players like Ivan Barbashev and Robert Thomas. The Blues had one particular power play where Thomas and Jordan Kyrou kept passing it to the wrong team or giving the puck up right as they entered the zone.

This seemed to spell doom for the Blues. However, they kept themselves in it and eventually Kyrou snapped a shot from the wall that got deflected in by the recently silent Brandon Saad to tie it. The Blues kept it tied into the third period, though they were the one trying to gain the lead by the end of 40.

St. Louis wasted little time in the third. Vladimir Tarasenko scored at 1:03 and again at 2:31.

St. Louis suddenly had the game in their back pocket after seemingly being outdone by the Wild for much of the first two periods. Those are the breaks you need.

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  • In a great what-if, the Seattle Kraken could have drafted Vladimir Tarasenko in the NHL Expansion Draft this offseason.

Colten Kahler, the St. Louis Sports blog: Here at Saint Louis Sports, we would like to send a personal "Thank You" note to the Seattle Kraken and their organization for not drafting Vladimir Tarasenko and taking Vince Dunn off our hands. How incompetent does a front office have to be to not take a great wing player in Tarasenko?

I would also like to thank our general manager Doug Armstrong for not trading Tarasenko. Armstrong has made many good moves over the years and has hit many home runs in the last few seasons. The trade for Ryan O'Reilly, Pavel Buchnevich and now not trading Tarasenko has worked out.

This is the exact season that Tarasenko, the Blues organization and fans had hoped to see from their beloved Russian right-winger. Tarasenko scored three goals in the final period on Tuesday evening for the hat trick and to help the Blues take a 3-2 lead over the Minnesota Wild in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Read the story.