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

Blues coast past Wild, win series in six games

May 13, 2022, 4:37 AM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Binnington made 25 saves as the St. Louis Blues defeated the visiting Minnesota Wild 5-1 Thursday to win their first-round Western Conference playoff series in six games.

The Blues advance to the second round to face the Colorado Avalanche, who swept them out of the playoffs last season in the first round.

Nick Leddy, Ryan O'Reilly, Tyler Bozak, Vladimir Tarasenko and Colton Parayko scored for the Blues and David Perron had two assists.

Matt Dumba scored for the Wild and goaltender Cam Talbot, making his first start in place of Marc-Andre Fleury, made 22 saves.

Key Wild forward Joel Eriksson Ek left the game in the first period after teammate Dmitry Kulikov accidently clipped him in the mouth with his stick. Eriksson Ek missed much of the second period before returning with a full facial shield.

The Wild controlled much of the first period while outshooting the Blues 10-4. But the Blues killed two off two penalties and took a 1-0 lead when Leddy zig-zagged up the ice and snapped a shot through Kulikov and past Talbot.

Minnesota had multiple scoring chances in the first 20 minutes but couldn't break through. Marcus Foligno hit the left post during an extended flurry, and Binnington stopped Frederick Gaudreau's clean break-in.

With 23 seconds left in the period, Matt Boldy came from behind the net for a stuff attempt, but he was denied by Binnington.

O'Reilly put the Blues up 2-0 with a power-play goal 9:26 in the second period. Brayden Schenn fed O'Reilly in the near slot for a point-blank shot.

Bozak made it 3-0 by following up Alexei Toropchenko's power move to the goal and tapping in the rebound. Tarasenko increased the margin to 4-0 with a power-play goal with 1:24 left in the period on a back-door cut through the right circle.

Dumba got the Wild on the board with a slap shot from atop the left circle with 13:35 left to play. But Parayko iced the game with an empty-net goal with 1:41 left.

--Field Level Media

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

Vladimir Tarasenko-led Blues look to close out Wild

May 11, 2022, 9:03 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

Vladimir Tarasenko and Karill Kaprizov continue their scoring duel when the St. Louis Blues host the Minnesota Wild in Game 6 of their first-round Western Conference series.

Kaprizov scored twice in Game 5 Tuesday to give the Wild a 2-1 lead, but Tarasenko responded with a third-period hat trick to give the Blues a 5-2 victory.

That sent the Blues home with a 3-2 edge in the best-of-seven series.

"Happy to win," said Tarasenko, who has four goals and an assist in this series. "Obviously happy to score, I'm not going to lie. But more happy to win."

The Blues won the Stanley Cup in 2019, but they have not won a playoff series since then. Now they are one victory away from a second-round matchup against the Colorado Avalanche, who swept the Nashville Predators in their series.

"It's not the time to think about any achievements," Tarasenko said. "The biggest thing is we won the game and let's move onto the next one. At this point with the experience in 2019, we learned that only wins matter and it's good we have a win."

Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington has won both starts since replacing Ville Husso in the nets after Game 3. His ability to handle the puck behind the net helped the depleted Blues defense corps, which regained Nick Leddy and Robert Bortuzzo in Game 5 but is still missing regulars Torey Krug and Marco Scandella due to lower-body injuries.

"(Binnington) did a hell of a job," Blues coach Craig Berube said. "I thought he made some big saves for us. I've talked about the puck play. He was excellent with that puck tonight. He killed a lot of their forecheck."

The Blues have put heavy emphasis on checking Kaprizov in this series, to no avail. His two goals gave him seven in the playoffs, which led all NHL players through Tuesday's games.

"Kaprizov just needs a little room," Berube said. "His shot is really good. And he's so strong. He's hard to handle. Heck of a player."

Through a translator, Kaprizov shrugged off his mounting goal total.

"The goal isn't for a player to play well. The goal is for the team to play well, and we didn't win," Kaprizov said. "Ultimately that's what we play for. We have a chance to make some changes to get the series back home for Game 7, and that's what we have to do."

Kaprizov sets the tempo for the Wild -- and coach Dean Evason would like to see more of his teammates playing at that tempo.

"He wills the team," Evason said. "He just didn't have enough guys willing alongside him tonight. If we had 20 of him, we'd be competing our butts off a little better."

With his team facing elimination, Evason expects to see a better team-wide effort in Game 6.

"We've seen our group respond and we're expecting our group to respond," Evason said. "It's a must-win. It's desperation. We're going to play our best game, all the cliches that you want to throw out there. It's one hockey game at a time, and we'll compete our butts off and see where we sit at the end of the night."

--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