The Blues weren't quite as dominant on Sunday night as they had been in their previous three games, but the results were every bit as effective as the Blues won their fourth game in a row, beating the Wild 4-1 at Xcel Energy Center.
The Blues, who prior to this winning streak had lost five in a row, are up three points on Colorado and up four on Dallas. In their past four games, the Blues have allowed two goals. It's the eighth time in franchise history the Blues have allowed just two goals over four games, but the second time in as many years. They did it from Feb. 14 to 19 of last season.
Jordan Binnington saw his shutout streak end at 142 minutes, 51 seconds but the Blues pushed back and held off a brief Wild comeback in the second period. Binnington hadn't allowed a goal since late in the third period against Nashville last Sunday. He posted shutouts against New Jersey and Arizona and had a scoreless first period against Minnesota.
This time, the Blues allowed 33 shots on goal after giving up less than 20 shots in each of the previous three games.
"Every game's different," Binnington said. "You've got to adapt to your environment and be there when they need you. Treat every game the same and keep moving forward."
"It definitely wasn’t our best game," forward Brayden Schenn said, "but at the end of the day we found a way to get two points on the road.”
"I don't think we got up to our standards tonight," said forward Oskar Sundqvist, who had a goal and an assist, "but at the same time we scored four goals. Before, we were playing good but couldn't score. Today was kind of the opposite. I think our whole group felt a little slow today."
After Minnesota cut the Blues lead to 2-1 in the second, the Blues got a goal from Oskar Sundqvist in the second period and then a short-handed goal by Ivan Barbashev, with an assist to Sundqvist, in the third period to finish it off.
The Blues killed four Minnesota power plays, including one in the second in which Binnington stopped Mats Zuccarello on a breakaway. Two of them were for too many men on the ice.
"We capitalized on our opportunities," coach Craig Berube said. "We didn't look like we had our legs under us for the whole game. It was OK but not great."
Minnesota cut the lead in half on a goal by Marcus Foligno 1:43 into the second. Foligno took a shot in close that hit Alex Pietrangelo's stick and went up in the air, over Binnington, off his back and in. There was a hesitation on the goal by the referees because Foligino took a swing at the puck in the air with what would have been a high stick, but he missed it, so the goal counted.
The Blues got the lead back to two on Sundqvist's first goal since returning from his injury. The Wild missed several chances to clear the puck and Sundqvist got the puck in front of the net, repositioned himself for a better angle and beat Devan Dubnyk from in close.
In the third period, Carl Gunnarsson broke up a Wild chance on the power play, which sprung Barbashev and Sundqvist. Barbashev carried the puck into the zone, passed to Sundqvist on the right wing who then gave it back to Barbashev to redirect it in 5:04 into the period.
"He's very involved in a lot of different areas for us," Berube said of Sundqivst. "That line was good. They had a couple goals. They could have had three, maybe even more than that."
The first period was the latest in a run of dominant periods for the Blues. Jordan Kyrou and Brayden Schenn scored for the Blues, and Binnington stopped nine shots, including some solid saves late in the period for the Blues, who have scored only one goal in the past 10 periods.
Kyrou put the Blues on the board. He brought the puck up the ice and when he got to the blueline, he passed to one-time Wild Marco Scandella, whose shot was blocked by goalie Devyn Dubnyk. Kyrou got the puck not far from the goal line toward the corner and his tight angle shot found its way in. It's the fourth goal of the season for Kyrou and the first point for the Blues for Scandella, who was celebrating his 30th birthday.
The Blues made it 2-0 on a goal by Schenn. Jaden Schwartz kept the puck in the Wild zone -- taking a stick in the face in the process -- and gave it to Schenn, who picked the top right corner and fired it in for his 21st goal of the season.