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NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-St. Louis Blues at Minnesota Wild

Vladimir Tarasenko's 3rd-period hat trick sends Blues past Wild

May 11, 2022, 4:29 AM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

Vladimir Tarasenko scored three goals, all in the third period, to lead the visiting St. Louis Blues to a 5-2 win against the Minnesota Wild in Game 5 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series on Tuesday in Saint Paul, Minn.

Ryan O'Reilly scored for the third straight game, Brandon Saad also scored and Jordan Binnington made 30 saves for Blues, who took a 3-2 series lead.

Game 6 of the best-of-seven set is Thursday in St. Louis.

Kirill Kaprizov scored two power-play goals to give him seven tallies in the series for the Wild, who were leading 2-1 midway through the game. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 27 shots in the defeat.

The Blues took a 3-2 lead at 1:03 of the third period. St. Louis dumped the puck in the Minnesota zone and Pavel Buchnevich got to it first behind the net before passing to Tarasenko in front for the one-timer.

Tarasenko then scored off a rush on a wrist shot from above the right circle to make it 4-2 at 2:31.

Tarasenko finished off the hat trick by scoring into an empty net for a 5-2 lead with 1:33 left.

The Blues took an early lead with their sixth power-play goal of the series.

O'Reilly was the first player to reach a loose puck in front of the Minnesota net, and he shot it past Fleury for a 1-0 lead at 4:53 of the first period.

Minnesota went on its first power play when Nick Leddy was called for interference at 12:11 of the first period, and Kaprizov scored for the fourth straight game to tie it 1-1 at 13:15.

Kaprizov drew a slashing penalty on Robert Thomas and then scored his second goal short-side over Binnington's right shoulder for a 2-1 lead with 2:53 left in the opening period.

Saad tied it 2-2 at 15:28 of the second period when he redirected a centering pass from Jordan Kyrou.

Kaprizov passed Wes Walz and Marian Gaborik for the most goals by a Minnesota player in one series.

Binnington won his 18th playoff game with the Blues, breaking the team record he previously shared with Mike Liut and Greg Millen.

--Field Level Media

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-St. Louis Blues at Minnesota Wild

Blues aim to contain Wild star Kirill Kaprizov in Game 5

May 9, 2022, 7:55 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

The best-of-seven first-round playoff series between St. Louis and Minnesota has become a best-of-three.

The Blues return to St. Paul, Minn., on Tuesday night to face the Wild in Game 5 of their Western Conference clash.

The Blues evened the series with a 5-2 home win in Game 4 on Sunday, making up for a pair of one-sided losses in Games 2 and 3.

"They're a great team. They're hard to play against," Blues coach Craig Berube said. "They do a good job, and we're a good team, too, so here we are. We're tied."

The Blues can boost their chances of getting out of the first round for the first time since winning the 2019 Stanley Cup by limiting Minnesota forward Kirill Kaprizov.

He has five goals in the series, tying Wes Walz and Marian Gaborik for the most by a Minnesota player in one series. Walz and Gaborik each scored five times in a seven-game win against the Vancouver Canucks in the 2003 Western Conference semifinals.

Making it more difficult to slow Kaprizov, the Blues could be down three defensemen in Game 5.

Nick Leddy missed his third consecutive game, and Robert Bortuzzo missed his second straight game, both with upper-body injuries. Marco Scandella departed less than two minutes into Game 4 with a lower-body injury, which had kept him out of Games 1 and 2.

The Blues started Game 4 with seven defensemen and 11 forwards.

To bolster the blue line, Steven Santini was recalled from Springfield of the American Hockey League under emergency conditions on Friday and was plus-1 in 3:08 of ice time.

Scott Perunovich played his first game since sustaining a wrist injury on Jan. 15 and produced an assist and blocked shot in 12:02.

Meanwhile the Wild hope to limit their penalties in Game 5.

St. Louis has scored at least one power-play goal in each of the first four games of the series, and the Blues are 5-for-18 overall with the man-advantage (27.8 percent).

"We've got to stay out of the box," Wild coach Dean Evason said. "It disrupts the flow of the game, disrupts what we want to do, what we want to get to."

The Blues likely will start Jordan Binnington in goal after he made 28 saves in Game 4, his first start of the series.

It marked the 17th playoff victory for Binnington, tying him with Mike Liut and Greg Millen for the most in team history.

The Blues hope to give Binnington an early lead. The winning team has scored first in each of the first four games of the series.

"Obviously, you want to come out hot and come out strong," St. Louis forward Jordan Kyrou said. "We did that (in Game 4) and we should continue to do it all series long."

The Wild are expected to stick with veteran goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in Game 5. After his two stellar performances in Game 2 and 3, the Blues managed to solve Fleury on Sunday and tie up the series.

"The vibe is, it's 2-2," Wild forward Frederick Gaudreau said. "Like we said earlier, it's not going to be easy, it's the playoffs, and the Blues are a good team."

--Field Level Media

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Minnesota Wild

Wild sign D Simon Johansson to two-year deal

April 28, 2022, 4:32 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Wild signed Swedish defenseman Simon Johansson to a two-year, entry-level contract Thursday.

Financial terms were not disclosed for Johansson, the Wild's fifth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">NEWS: We have signed defenseman Simon Johansson to a two-year, entry-level contract starting with the 2022-23 season.<a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#mnwild</a></p>&mdash; x - Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) <a href="">April 28, 2022</a></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

Johansson, 22, had 32 points (eight goals, 24 assists) in 58 games this season with Ilves Tampere in his first season in Finland's Elite League.

The Stockholm native spent the previous four seasons (2017-21) competing with Djurgardens IF in Sweden's Elite League.

--Field Level Media

NHL: Minnesota Wild at Dallas Stars

Marc-Andre Fleury, 37, plans to play ‘at least another season’

April 19, 2022, 11:51 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Wild goalie Marc-Andre Fleury is not thinking about retirement just yet.

The well-traveled 37-year-old said Tuesday that he wants to play in 2022-23.

"I would like to play at least another season," Fleury said. "I decided that recently. I still enjoy playing. I still have fun, my body is still holding up, most of the time. But yes, another season and we'll see after."

Fleury is best known for winning three Stanley Cups during 13 seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He went to the Vegas Golden Knights in their 2017 expansion draft and played four seasons for them -- famously helping the club reach the 2018 Stanley Cup Final -- before being traded in the 2021 offseason to the Chicago Blackhawks.

Chicago fell out of the playoff picture early on and moved Fleury to Minnesota before the trade deadline. But he will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2021-22 season, giving him some say in where he will wrap up his career.

Last season, Fleury won the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the NHL's top goaltender, for the first time in his career. His 517 career goalie wins rank third all-time behind Martin Brodeur (691) and Patrick Roy (551).

Entering Tuesday's game against the Montreal Canadiens, Fleury was 25-22-5 on the season between Chicago and Minnesota, with a .910 save percentage and a 2.90 goals-against average. Fleury won six of his first seven starts with the Wild.

--Field Level Media

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Minnesota Wild

Wild's Ryan Hartman fined $4,250 for hand gesture

April 13, 2022, 4:34 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Wild forward Ryan Hartman was fined $4,250 by the NHL on Wednesday for unsportsmanlike conduct in the team's game against the Edmonton Oilers.

Hartman will be lighter in the wallet after extending his middle finger in the direction of Oilers forward Evander Kane following an altercation at 9:15 of the third period in the Wild's 5-1 win on Tuesday.

While the fine is the maximum allowable under the league's collective bargaining agreement, Hartman told reporters on Tuesday that any fine stemming from his action would be "well worth it."

Hartman and Kane each received 10-minute misconducts and a roughing penalty for their actions in the third period. Kane also received a crosschecking minor following his hit on Wild star Kirill Kaprizov, a move that caught the attention of the remainder of the Minnesota players on the ice.

"He gave Kirill a shot from behind in a very vulnerable spot," Hartman said of Kane. "It goes to show, we had five guys in there. They didn't have one guy in there to help him.

"I don't think any of their guys are going to defend him."

Hartman, 27, scored two goals on Tuesday to boost his season total to a career-high 29 on the season. He also has set personal bests in both assists (27), points (56) and penalty minutes (81).

--Field Level Media

NHL: Minnesota Wild at Calgary Flames

Wild D Alex Goligoski signs two-year contract extension

March 30, 2022, 3:11 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Wild defenseman Alex Goligoski signed a two-year, $4 million contract extension that spans through the 2023-24 season, the team announced Wednesday.

Goligoski, 36, has recorded 28 points (two goals, 26 assists), 32 penalty minutes and a team-leading plus-34 rating in 58 games this season.

A Stanley Cup champion with Pittsburgh in 2009, Goligoski has 457 points (85 goals, 372 assists) in 982 career games with the Penguins (2007-11), Dallas Stars (2011-16), Arizona Coyotes (2016-21) and Wild.

Goligoski was selected by Pittsburgh in the second round of the 2004 NHL Draft out of the University of Minnesota.

--Field Level Media

NHL: Minnesota Wild at Calgary Flames

Reports: Wild agree to extension with D Alex Goligoski

March 30, 2022, 1:21 AM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Wild agreed to a contract extension with veteran defenseman Alex Goligoski for an additional two seasons, according to multiple reports Tuesday.

Goligoski, currently in his 15th NHL season but first with his hometown Wild, is reportedly expected to make an average of $2 million per season.

The native of Grand Rapids, Minn., has two goals and 26 assists in 58 games with the Wild this season. He also has a career-high and team-best plus-34 plus/minus rating.

Goligoski, who turns 37 this summer, signed a one-year, $5 million deal last summer to join Minnesota -- his fourth team in his career.

He has logged 85 goals and 372 assists for 457 points in 982 career games. Goligoski began as a second-round pick in 2004 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he played his first three-plus seasons (2007-08 to 2010-11). He was a member of the Penguins' Stanley Cup-winning team in 2009.

Goligoski has also skated for the Dallas Stars (2010-11 to 2015-16) and the Arizona Coyotes (2016-17 to 2020-21).

--Field Level Media

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at St. Louis Blues

Blues D Torey Krug (upper body) out week-to-week

March 25, 2022, 3:08 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

St. Louis Blues defenseman Torey Krug is considered week-to-week because of an upper-body injury, the team announced.

Krug was injured by a slash from Nick Jensen during the second period of the Blues' 5-2 win against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday. The injury was to his left hand.

"It's really tough. Valuable player for us," Blues coach Craig Berube said Thursday. "It is what it is, but it is a tough loss for sure. It didn't look like much, but obviously it is."

Krug, 30, has recorded 35 points (eight goals, 27 assists) in 57 games this season. He signed a seven-year, $45.5 million contract with the Blues on Oct. 9.

Krug has 404 points (77 goals, 327 assists) in 631 career games with the Boston Bruins (2011-20) and Blues.

--Field Level Media

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Calgary Flames

Blues get D Nick Leddy from Red Wings for pair, pick

March 21, 2022, 6:59 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Blues acquired defenseman Nick Leddy from the Detroit Red Wings on Monday in exchange for center Oskar Sundqvist, Jake Walman and a 2023 second-round pick.

The Blues also get blueliner Luke Witkowski in the deal.

Leddy, 31, has 16 points (one goal, 15 assists) in 55 games this season. The former first-round pick (No. 16 overall) in the 2009 draft was in his first season in Detroit after being traded to the Red Wings by the New York Islanders in July.

Leddy has 352 points (66 goals, 286 assists) in 831 career games with the Chicago Blackhawks (2010-14), Islanders (2014-21) and Red Wings.

Sundqvist, 27, has 15 points (four goals, 11 assists) in 41 games this season. He was in his fifth season in St. Louis after playing his first two seasons in Pittsburgh. He has 87 points (36 goals, 51 assists) in 270 career games.

Walman, 26, has six points (three goals, three assists) in 32 games this season. The Blues selected him in the third round of the 2014 draft.

Witkowski, 31, has played in 132 career games with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Red Wings since 2014 but in just one game this season. He scored seven points (three goals, four assists) in 44 games this season with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League.

--Field Level Media

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Chicago Blackhawks

Reports: Wild acquire G Marc Andre-Fleury from Blackhawks

March 21, 2022, 4:18 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Wild acquired Marc-Andre Fleury -- the third-winningest goaltender in NHL history -- on Monday, sending a conditional draft pick to the Chicago Blackhawks, multiple outlets reported.

The Athletic said the draft pick is a second-rounder that could become a first-round pick if the Wild reach the Western Conference finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs this season and Fleury is the winning goalie in at least four games to that point.

In a separate move, the Wild also moved goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen and a fifth-round pick to the San Jose Sharks for defenseman Jacob Middleton, The Athletic reported.

Cam Talbot has been the primary goalie for the Wild this season.

Trade rumors have swirled around Fleury for weeks as the Blackhawks have stumbled to a 22-32-9 (53 points) mark and are well out of the playoff picture in the Western Conference.

The Wild, however, are 38-20-4 (76 points) and in playoff contention and can use Fleury -- the reigning Vezina and Jennings Trophy winner -- for the stretch run and beyond.

Fleury, 37, was selected by Pittsburgh with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 NHL Draft, and he went on to win three Stanley Cups with the Penguins.

The Vegas Golden Knights selected him in the 2017 expansion draft, and he had what at that time was a career-low 2.24 goals-against average and a career-high .927 save percentage. Vegas became the first expansion team since the St. Louis Blues in 1967-68 to reach the Stanley Cup Final before losing to the Washington Capitals in five games.

Despite a 2020-21 season in which he posted a 26-10-0 record with a 1.98 GAA and 9.28 save percentage, Fleury was dealt to the Blackhawks last July 27 for center Mikael Hakkarainen.

In his lone season in Chicago, Fleury had a 19-21-5 mark in 45 games, with a 2.95 GAA and .908 save percentage.

In his career, Fleury has a record of 511-297-87, a 2.57 GAA and .913 save percentage.

Fleury addressed the trade rumors last month.

"If I move, I would love a chance to win," he told reporters on Feb. 16. "That's what I play for, and that's what I love."

Kahkonen, 25, was 12-8-3 with a 2.87 GAA and .910 save percentage for the Wild this season.

Middleton, 26, has nine points (three goals, six assists) and 69 penalty minutes in 45 games for the Sharks this season. He has a team-best +3 plus-minus rating.

--Field Level Media

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Vancouver Canucks

Wild acquire F Nicolas Deslauriers from Ducks

March 20, 2022, 2:51 AM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Wild acquired physical winger Nicolas Deslauriers from the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.

Deslauriers, who turned 31 last month, in scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Although not considered a high-volume scorer, with only one 10-goal season in his nine NHL seasons, the Wild admitted they sought a player with necessary edge ahead of the looming postseason.

"Nic brings a certain abrasiveness to his game that we all like, and we agreed that he's a guy that would make us better," Wild general manager Bill Guerin said. "We saw him a lot last year, and we've been following him a lot this year. He brings a physical nature to the game, leadership, sticks up for his teammates. He kills penalties. He's definitely a good add."

Deslauriers has scored five goals with five assists in 61 games for the Ducks this season. His 90 penalty minutes rank seventh in the league, with his 10 fights ranking tied for first in the NHL.

In 486 career games he has 41 goals and 41 assists along with 498 penalty minutes. He has had a positive plus/minus rating just once in his NHL career.

Originally a third-round pick by the Los Angeles Kings in 2009, Deslauriers broke into the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres in the 2013-14 season before also playing for the Montreal Canadiens (2017-19) and Ducks (2019-22).

--Field Level Media

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Pittsburgh Penguins

Blues F Tyler Bozak (lower body) out 4 weeks

March 16, 2022, 4:47 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

St. Louis Blues forward Tyler Bozak will be sidelined at least four weeks with a lower-body injury.

General manager Doug Armstrong said Wednesday that Bozak will be re-evaluated in a month.

Bozak, who turns 36 on Saturday, has 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in 47 games in his fourth season with the Blues.

He has 460 points (170 goals, 290 assists) and 811 games over 13 seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs (2009-18) and Blues.

--Field Level Media

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Minnesota Wild

Avalanche acquire Nico Sturm from Wild for Tyson Jost

March 15, 2022, 7:03 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche acquired Nico Sturm from the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday in exchange for fellow forward Tyson Jost.

Sturm, 26, has recorded 17 points (nine goals, eight assists) in 53 games this season. The 6-foot-3, 209-pound Sturm has totaled 36 points (20 goals, 16 assists) in 111 career games with the Wild.

"Nico is a big, strong forward who also brings a heavy defensive presence. He is a defensive-minded center who can chip in offensively, is good on draws and can contribute on the penalty kill," Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic said. "We would like to thank Tyson for everything he has brought to our team over the last five seasons, not just on the ice, but in the generous and impactful work he has done throughout the community."

Jost, 24, has 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in 59 games this season. He has 103 points (45 goals, 58 assists) in 321 career games since being selected by the Avalanche with the 10th overall pick of the 2016 NHL Draft.

--Field Level Media

NHL: Minnesota Wild at Columbus Blue Jackets

Wild's Marcus Foligno fined $5K for kneeing Jakub Voracek

March 12, 2022, 6:38 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

The NHL fined Minnesota Wild forward Marcus Foligno $5,000 on Saturday for kneeing Columbus Blue Jackets forward Jakub Voracek.

The penalty is the maximum allowable under the league's collective bargaining agreement.

Foligno delivered the hit to Voracek late in the third period of Friday's game. There was no penalty called on the play.

Voracek left the contest briefly before returning the bench, however he did not play in the remainder of the Blue Jackets' 3-2 shootout win in Columbus.

The 30-year-old Foligno was suspended two games last month for kneeing Adam Lowry of the Winnipeg Jets.

Foligno has recorded career-high totals in goals (19), points (31) and penalty minutes (95) in 53 games this season, his fifth with Minnesota and 11th in the NHL.

--Field Level Media

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at St. Louis Blues

Blues F Vladimir Tarasenko (undisclosed) out vs. Leafs

February 19, 2022, 8:10 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

St. Louis Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko will miss Saturday's game against the host Toronto Maple Leafs with an undisclosed injury.

Tarasenko picked up an assist before getting hurt in Thursday's 3-2 loss at the Montreal Canadiens. The two-time All-Star leads the Blues with 45 points (18 goals, 27 assists) in 44 games.

Tarasenko, 30, did not participate in the Blues' Saturday morning skate. He is considered day-to-day, according to head coach Craig Berube.

In 575 career games with the Blues, the 2010 first-round draft pick has 487 points (236 goals, 251 assists). He led St. Louis to its only Stanley Cup championship in 2019.

--Field Level Media