April 20, 2017, 10:08 AM ET [14 Comments]
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A win, finally!
Scoring more than 1 goal, finally!
Taking a lead in a game in this series, finally!
Playing a Wild game, start to finish, finally!
It is only one win and the Blues still lead the series 3-1, but the Wild have life coming home and they know that they are the better team and when they play Wild hockey they are a very tough team to beat, period!
The win keeps the Wild in the series and brings the team home for a pivotal game five in front of the State of Hockey faithful Saturday.
Devan Dubnyk was solid and sometimes spectacular in the Wild net, stopping all 28 Blues shots he faced in recording his second career playoff shutout, both against St. Louis.
Charlie Coyle and Martin Hanzal scored for the Wild, but their contributions were far more than the scoreboard tallies. Both Hanzal and Coyle were instrumental with there presence in all three zones on the ice. Using their size and strength to the Wild's advantage in establishing territorial control. A lot gets made of the size advantage the Blues defense has over many of the smaller Wild forwards, so the strong physical play of Hanzal and Coyle needs to continue in order for the Wild to continue to get better quality scoring chances.
The first goal was a great read by Coyle off a failed clear from Blues goalie, Jake Allen up the right wing boards. This is an area the Wild again can exploit as Allen loves to play the puck most notably up the Wild right wing boards, or to his left. The problem in the first three games was that the Wild were dumping the puck too soon with no pressure allowing Allen easy clears. Look for this in the next games as the Wild make their adjustments and then to see how St. Louis counters with their own tweeks.
Series on! Game 5 at home for the Wild, on Saturday!