ST. LOUIS (AP)Robert Thomas scored at 1:27 of overtime to give the St. Louis Blues a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Friday night.
Thomas took a pass from Vladimir Tarasenko and scored on a slap shot from the left faceoff circle.
”It was a good speed play,” St. Louis coach Craig Berube said. ”Thomas come off the bench and got the puck in our own zone and he transports it with speed up the ice, nice `X’ play and then Vladi made a great read on it. Vladi was looking to shoot but he saw Thomas slide over there and made a great play.”
The Blues overcame a 3-1 deficit to pull even with Minnesota in the Central Division in the battle for home ice in the first round of the playoffs.
”We were physical tonight, we were involved.” Berube said. ”They’re a good team. They play hard and they got obviously some real good skill over there and a lot of big guys that play physical.”
Brayden Schenn, Pavel Buchnevich and Justin Faulk also scored for St. Louis, and Ville Husso made 35 saves.
Faulk snapped in a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle at 4:16 of third to pull the Blues within one.
”They’re a hard team to play against that’s for sure,” Faulk said. ”We enjoy that as competitors – you like a team that’s gonna come and play hard. And they’ve done that and we’ve stepped up.”
Schenn tied it at with 9:32 left. He skated down left side, cut to the middle beat goalie Cam Talbot high with a backhander.
” I had some juice and some energy and kind of picked up a little bit of speed,” Schenn said. ”I just tried to test the defenseman and it worked out that time. I think guys know what’s on the line, guys know how serious these points are and trying to make a statement against the other team. You have to be ready for these ones and the guys were.”
Minnesota coach Dean Evason didn’t like seeing his team cough up a two-goal lead in the third period.
”The last two goals in regulation were not great goals by us as a team,” Evason said. ”We didn’t make them earn those two.”
Kirill Kaprizov scored his 41st goal for Minnesota to move within a goal of tying the Wild season record held by Marian Gaborik (2007-08) and Eric Staal (2017-18). Kevin Fiala and Jacob Middleton also scored for Minnesota.
”I thought we’re gonna we’re going to win this game, you know,” Fiala said. ”I think they’re skilled team you know, a heavy team as well. They just move the puck well. It’s nothing that we can’t beat you know, so that’s for sure.”
Talbot made 24 saves for the Wild.
”It turned out we played great. We didn’t get the result we wanted,” Evason said. ”Obviously, we messed up in overtime. We have a system in overtime and we didn’t do it. We ended up getting scored on. ”
The Blues have a four-game winning streak and are on a 6-0-1 run.
Two St. Louis Cardinals were shown on the videoboard and the crowd erupted. Albert Pujols received a standing ovation as he tipped his cap to the fans. Catcher Yadier Molina was wearing a Vladimir Tarasenko jersey and a stocking cap and waving his arms to the fans. … St. Louis improved to 2-7 in overtime. Minnesota fell to 7-1.
Wild: Host Los Angeles on Sunday.
Blues: Host New York Islanders on Saturday night.
More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports