Local Sports

Vladimir Tarasenko had three goals in the third period to pry open a tied game and series, and the Blues pushed the Wild to the edge of elimination with a 5-2 victory in Game 5 on Tuesday night.

 

Ryan O'Reilly scored for the fourth time in the series and Brandon Saad got the tying goal late in the second period as the Blues upstaged a stellar performance by Wild star Kirill Kaprizov. Whatever rivalry exists between the two Russians, Tarasenko wasn't having any part of that, either.

 

Kaprizov brought the building to life on yet another late-night start - puck drop was at 8:50 p.m. local time - by scoring twice on Minnesota's previously sluggish power play in the first period. Kaprizov has an NHL-leading seven goals in the playoffs, already a Wild record for a series.

 

The Wild are 4 for 19 on the power play, and Kaprizov has three of the goals.

 

The series returns to St. Louis for Game 6 on Thursday night. If the Blues win, Game 7 would be back in Minnesota on Saturday. The top-seeded Colorado Avalanche, fresh off a sweep of the Nashville Predators, are waiting in the second round.

 

Entering this year, there have been 277 best-of-seven postseason matchups in NHL history that were tied at two games apiece. The Game 5 winner went on to take the series 219 times, a whopping .791 winning percentage.

 

Jordan Binnington made 30 saves for his second straight win, a franchise-record 18th career postseason victory.

 

Pavel Buchnevich outmuscled Jacob Middleton for the puck behind Marc-Andre Fleury's net and fed Tarasenko for the go-ahead score with 63 seconds elapsed after the second intermission.

 

Then Tarasenko, who bounced back strong with 34 goals in 2021-22 after consecutive injury-wrecked seasons, gave the Blues a two-goal lead with his wrist shot from the high slot just 1:28 later. He tacked on an empty-netter with 1:33 remaining.

 

The Blues bolstered their blue line by bringing Robert Bortuzzo and Nick Leddy back from their upper-body injuries that kept them out of the two games in St. Louis, though defensemen Torey Krug and Marco Scandella were again absent with lower-body injuries.

 

Rookie Scott Perunovich, who appeared in the lineup in Game 4 for his first action in four months, was the seventh defenseman to suit up while the Blues made only 11 forwards active. The native of Hibbing, Minnesota, made his presence felt on the power play after Middleton was whistled for cross-checking - a dubious call from the view of the booing home crowd - to give the visitors the man advantage just 4:06 into the game.

 

Perunovich's slap shot forced Fleury to create a rebound, and after a scramble for the puck that Brayden Schenn won in front of the crease, O'Reilly found it with an open net to knock it in.

Local Weather - Sponsored By:
 
Townhall Top of the Hour News

 

SRN News