|Date of game: 3/21/2015
Recap: Minnesota vs. St. Louis
St. Paul, MN (SportsNetwork.com) - Justin Fontaine recorded a goal and an assist and the Minnesota Wild struck early and often in a 6-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues.
The Wild followed up two unanswered first-period goals with three more in the second en route to their second win over the Blues in a week. Minnesota posted a 3-1 decision between the Central Division rivals in St. Louis last Saturday.
In this one, the Wild battered Blues netminder Brian Elliott for four goals on 16 shots before he was removed in favor of Jake Allen 4:05 into the second period.
"We're playing well and it's a big win for us against these guys," said Wild forward Zach Parise, who tallied a goal as well. "They're always a tough opponent."
Jonas Brodin added a goal and an for Minnesota, which hasn't dropped back-to- back games since Jan. 19-20. The Wild also received scores from Chris Stewart, Thomas Vanek and Mikko Koivu along with 26 saves from Devan Dubnyk.
Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz each registered a goal and an assist for St. Louis, with Paul Stastny tallying late in the loss.
The Wild got the game off to a tremendous start, as Dubnyk stoned Tarasenko in close less than two minutes in and Stewart put the Blues behind with a pretty breakaway goal on Minnesota's second shot of the day, which came 7:47 after the initial faceoff.
It was 2-0 less than 4 1/2 minutes later when Fontaine's attempt bounced off a charging Vanek's shoulder and bounced past Elliott, and the Wild struck twice more early in an action-packed second period to extend the lead further.
Parise knocked in the rebound of a long drive from Brodin 3:39 into the middle session, just 26 seconds before Brodin got a slap shot from near the blue line to make its way through a crowd for a 4-0 advantage that sent Elliott to the bench.
"They were on their toes, they were jumping on us, putting pucks in the right spot and playing a fast game," Blues captain David Backes remarked. "To combat that, we have to play our hard, heavy game and we just never got to it."
Tarasenko did give the Blues a much-needed lift on a power play midway through the second, placing the carom of a blast from Schwartz through Dubnyk's pads for his 35th marker of the season.
The two teamed up for another goal a mere 1:39 afterward, with Tarasenko weaving his way through traffic and setting up Schwartz for a successful backhander that cut St. Louis' deficit to 4-2.
Fontaine restored Minnesota's three-goal cushion with 3:49 left in the second, however, with a wrister that deflected off the stick of Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester and past Allen's left skate.
Allen let up another unlucky goal with Tarasenko in the box just past the midway mark of the third, as Koivu's intended pass hit off St. Louis blueliner Alex Pietrangelo and trickled over the line to push the Wild's lead to 6-2.
"It's always rewarding to get (good bounces)," Parise said. "We try and crash the net, we try and get rebounds. Sometimes they lay there for you and sometimes they don't. More often than not, when you keep getting there, it's going to pay off."
Stastny capped the scoring on a redirection of Alex Steen's shot from the point with the Blues on a 5-on-4 with 5:53 left.Game Notes
Vanek's goal extended his point streak to seven games, during which he's
scored five times ... Stastny's goal was his 500th career NHL point ...
Defenseman Marco Scandella returned to the Wild's lineup for the first time
since Feb. 28, having missed the team's past nine games with an oblique injury
... Minnesota allowed two power-play goals on four opportunities after going
13-for-13 on the penalty kill over his previous five games ... Allen stopped
10-of-12 shots in relief of Elliott.