Postgame Hat Trick: Blues 6, Wild 5 (OT)

1. Call it a comeback

At the second intermission, even the most ardent optimist probably had a hard time envisioning the Wild making this a competitive game.

Oh sure, Minnesota has habitually come from behind on teams all season, but all the momentum and all of the advantages were on the side of the Blues through 40 minutes.

St. Louis had scored three consecutive goals to take a 4-1 lead into the break. It would emerge from the dressing room with extended 5-on-3 time to start the third period. And Minnesota just hadn’t been able to put together long stretches of consistent play in the offensive zone.

Video: MIN@STL: Hartman scores 2nd of game, 31st this season

“I don’t think it’s one specific situation that we can say, ‘our d-zone was poor. Rush chances were bad. I just think there was just a little bit of everything,” said Wild coach Dean Evason. “They’ve got as good an offensive team as there is. You have to, obviously, defend a little bit better against that group.

“But you have to continue to push like we did in the third period offensively because they’re gonna get theirs, so we’ve got to get ours too.”

For those that tuned out, you should know better.

Video: MIN@STL: Gaudreau scores in 3rd period to make it 4-3

Ryan Hartmann scored his second goal of the afternoon 3:09 into the period to make it 4-2. Freddy Gaudreau scored a goal for a third consecutive game just 92 seconds after that.

Suddenly, with a whole bunch of time left, Minnesota was within 4-3.

“We just kept doing what we normally do, just stay the course,” said Wild coach Dean Evason. “We just kept playing. We caught a few breaks.”

Pavel Buchnevich scored off the rush to double the Blues lead with just over half a period of ice hockey remaining, but even that wouldn’t stop the Wild.

Video: MIN@STL: Foligno pulls rebound to forehand, scores

Marcus Foligno followed with a goal very late in a power play to make it 5-4 with six minutes left. Then Kirill Caprizov made history, capping the comeback and tying the game 58 seconds after that.

So what changed?

“I just think that we knew it wasn’t great by us,” Foligno said. “We didn’t hold onto pucks, try to make plays. We were really hesitant in our breakouts. We got to our game in the first period and we liked it but I thought we didn’t really much play hockey in our zone at all in that first period and I think that it was just due to us getting back, playing smart, moving the puck fast and in the second period we didn’t do that nearly as much, took some penalties and they got a crucial power play. ”

Video: Marcus Foligno postgame at St. Louis

The Wild even had a couple of golden opportunities to win the game in regulation, but was able to snag a tough-earned point. Brayden Schenn would give the Blues the bonus point in overtime, but Minnesota’s comeback could pay major dividends over the next couple of weeks as second place in the Central Division shakes out.

“That’s big but it kinda sucks when you don’t get the win,” said Wild forward Mats Zuccarello. “Right now it feels not good but we got a game again tomorrow so we gotta shake this one off.”

“It’s just one of those things we don’t quit. We know that we’re a really good hockey team and we can keep up with those guys,” Foligno said. “Tough to give up an overtime goal, but the battle I think the third and the first is our game and we just need to clean it up in the second.”

2. Re-writing the record book

Several records and personal landmarks were reached in this one.

First and foremost, Kaprizov’s typing goal late in the game was his 43rd of the season, breaking Marian Gaborik’s and Eric Staal’s previous record of 42.

Video: MIN@STL: Kaprizov snaps in 43rd, sets new Wild record

“Kirill’s been unbelievable all season and we’re lucky to have him,” Foligno said. “But at the same time too he’s a guy that wants a big moment and wants to be the one that puts a team on his shoulders and gets a big goal like that and I think he expects that come postseason too.”

Indeed, Kaprizov’s timing is impeccable. It’s incredible how often Kaprizov is scoring clutch goals at big moments of hockey games.

“It’s normal for us now,” Zuccarello said. “It doesn’t surprise me.”

With eight games left in the season, Kaprizov will have plenty of time to try and build on his own record and try to give himself something to shoot for in the future.

Video: Kirill Kaprizov postgame at St. Louis

“It feels good to get the 43rd goal,” Kaprizov said through a translator. “But it really sucks to be able to come back all the way, push it to overtime and end up losing. Those are always the toughest games.”

Hartman scored a pair of goals in the game, surpassing 30 for the first time in his career and providing him with another nice round number in a season that has been full of them.

He also assisted on Foligno’s power-play marker in the third and has 28 assists. Hartman’s next point will be his 60th of the season.

Video: Mats Zuccarello postgame at St. Louis

And for Zuccarello, he was initially credited with the second assist on Hartman’s first goal in the second period, which was his 51st of the season. NHL scorers took it away, but kept Kaprizov’s … so for a period or so, both Zuccarello and Kaprizov were tied with Pierre-Marc Bouchard’s team record of 50 assists.

Zuccarello would eventually win the race to 51, dishing out the primary helper on Hartman’s second of the night, a point which was also the 500th of his NHL career.

He’d add assist No. 52 and point No. 501 on Kaprizov’s goal late in the game.

Still, the final result soured the afternoon for Zuccarello.

“Right now it doesn’t mean much, do you know?” Zuccarello said. “If we got a win it’s fun but I don’t really think about it right now.”

3. See you soon?

It’s almost a near certainty the Wild and Blues will be playing a first-round playoff series once the postseason commences in early May. Some prediction sites have it as much as 97 percent that these Central rivals will finish 2-3 in the division in some order… which would ensure a best-of-7 series to open the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

With two weeks remaining in regular season, the only thing left to decide will be where that series opens, right here in St. Louis or back in St. Paul, where the clubs have yet to play a game this season.

Video: Ryan Hartman postgame at St. Louis

The Blues staked their claim to home-ice advantage in a potential series and now lead the Wild by a single point in the standings… although Minnesota does have one game in hand.

It also got some confidence with its third-period surge.

“This is the last time we’ll see them until potentially the playoffs, so good to have that,” Hartman said. “Obviously, we’d like to get the last one, but it has been a good battle all season with them… it looks like that’s who we’re going to face, but there’s still games to be had. So we’ ll worry about that bridge when we get there. We still got eight hockey games to play.”

Minnesota will have to turn things around in the postseason, as this series has trended away from the Wild over the past couple of seasons. St. Louis has now won 12 of the past 14 games between the clubs dating back to the start of the 2019-20 campaign.

Six of those wins for the Blues came in 3-on-3 overtime, which of course, will not happen in the postseason.

Tweet from @mnwild: Our guys put up a fight and a half tonight. On to the next one 😤#mnwild pic.twitter.com/3KySetjxEx

“These last two games, if it goes into (overtime), we go back in the locker room and play 5-on-5 again, right?” Hartman said. “We have all the momentum on our side. We lost two games 3-on-3. That’s regular season hockey, so we’re not too worried about it.”

That aspect has been one thing that gives Evason confidence as these clubs careen towards a likely playoff collision.

“We clearly want the end result,” Evason said. “We don’t want to lose hockey games but we know that we’re in games. We know that there’s things that we clean up, but we also know that we could have had success here tonight too.

“We could have had success in that last game as well. It comes to overtime, there’s no (3-on-3) in the playoffs, right? So we like our group 5-on-5.”

Two others have been one-goal games, so Saturday’s nail-biter might be a continuing trend.

“I don’t want to think too far ahead. I think right now it’s something that we need to continue to focus on and get better at,” Kaprizov said. “It’s a good lesson for us to learn having this loss and it’s something we can work on. But come playoff, we’ll be ready.”

Loose pucks
  • Minnesota ran its overall point steak to five games (3-0-2)
  • wild-forward Tyson Josh (lower body) did not return to the game and won’t play on Sunday
  • wild goaltender Cam Talbot had 24 saves and has earned a point in each of his past 12 starts dating back to March 3 (9-0-3)
  • Jonas Brodin‘s assist on Foligno’s goal was his sixth on the power play this season, a new career high
  • Hartman’s three-point day was the sixth of his career and third this season
  • kevin fiala assisted on Gaudreau’s goal to extend his point streak to five games and now has 69 points on the season
  • Matt Boldy also assisted on Gaudreau’s goal to run his point streak to four games
  • alex goligosky had one assist and now has 30 points in 10 of his 15 NHL seasons
  • Schenn had one goal and two assists
  • Buchnevich also had one goal and two assists
  • Colton Parayko had two helpers
  • Blues goaltender Ville Husso finished with 31 saves
Dan’s three stars

1.Ryan Hartman

2. Brayden Schenn

3. Kirill Caprizov

highlights

Video: MIN Recap: Kaprizov scores, Zuccarello hits milestone

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