ST. LOUIS (AP) — Devan Dubnyk forgot all about that six-goal embarrassment.
The Minnesota Wild goalie with the short memory led his team to its biggest road win yet this season.
“I can’t go out and be a hero if I don’t get the opportunity,” said Dubnyk, who led the way in a 4-1 victory Friday over the St. Louis Blues that gave the Wild a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference first-round series. “But it’s nice to go out and get the chance to make a bunch of saves.”
After allowing six goals in two periods in a 6-1 loss in Game 4, Dubnyk was back to being the difference-maker on a team that had an NHL record-tying 12 consecutive road wins late in the season. He robbed Alexander Steen twice from close range in the second period.
“Obviously, when your goalie plays like that you give yourself a chance,” coach Mike Yeo said. “Pretty good day, I guess. Our whole group is happy for him.”
The Wild scored four straight goals after Vladimir Tarasenko gave St. Louis the early edge with his playoff-leading sixth goal, including Minnesota’s fourth power-play tally of the series.
Nino Niederreiter scored the go-ahead goal in the second period, and Marco Scandella, Mikko Koivo and Charlie Coyle also scored for Minnesota. The Wild can wrap up the series at home in Game 6 on Sunday.
“We have not won anything yet,” Yeo said. “We’re aware home ice has not been much of an advantage this series.
“Hopefully we learned from Game 4 and now is an opportunity to prove it.”
The Central Division champion Blues will be trying to avoid their third straight first-round elimination and bring the series back home for Game 7 on Wednesday night.
“We’ve got to score more, we’ve got to finish on these chances we get,” coach Ken Hitchcock said. “It was just us and the goalie three or four times in the second period.
“Got to find a way to finish those.”
Rookie Blues goalie Jake Allen surrendered more than two goals for the first time in 12 starts, a streak dating to early March. Allen has started throughout the series ahead of veteran Brian Elliott and entered with a 1.51 goals-against average in the series, but gave up three goals on the first 12 shots.
Scandella’s tying goal in the first period was a big momentum shifter. The Blues had an 8-0 shots bulge before the defenseman unwound from the top of the left circle and the puck popped in and out of Allen’s glove.
“That should never go in,” said Allen, who refused to make excuses for bad bounces or screened shots.
“It doesn’t matter,” Allen added. “I should have stopped them. Not good enough on my part.”
The teams have alternated wins — all decided by more than one goal — since Minnesota opened with a 4-2 victory in St. Louis with the last two goals empty-netters. For the third straight season, the Blues dropped Game 5 at home in a series tied at 2.
Niederreiter’s second goal of the series was a one-timer with 5:04 left in the second off a setup from Chris Stewart, who broke free from defenseman Zbynek Michalek in the corner.
Koivu made it 3-1 on a power play with 3:38 left in the second on a pass across the crease that deflected into the net off defenseman Jay Bouwmeester’s skate. The Wild were 27th with the man advantage during the regular season.
Allen appeared to be screened on Coyle’s first of the series on a wrist shot from the slot with 5:10 left in the third.
Steen zipped the puck across the crease and Tarasenko converted a one-timer for his 10th career playoff goal in just 12 games and his sixth goal this series in just nine shots. The Blues had four shots on the power play after Niederreiter was whistled for tripping with 6 seconds to go in a hooking penalty.
Notes: Blues F Jori Lehtera was the lone significant scratch with a lower-body injury from absorbing a shot by Bouwmeester in the third period of Game 4. Lehtera has two assists in the series, playing alongside top scorer Tarasenko, and is a key member of the power play. … The Wild made one lineup tweak, inserting forward Matt Cooke and scratching Sean Bergenheim. … Allen last gave up more than two goals on March 1, when he surrendered four before getting yanked in a 6-5 shootout loss at Vancouver.
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