Heading into game five, the Minnesota Wild had the luxury of home ice. The series was tied at two games a piece between them and the St. Louis Blues however the Wild fumbled a great opportunity to take back control of this first round series. Ultimately, they lost the game by a score of 5-2 despite entering the third period all tied at two. The Wild will now be looking to keep the series and their season alive as they travel on the road for game six. It’ll be a tough test for Minnesota but one that will show exactly what this team is made of.
Despite the Blues opening the scoring in the game, the Wild responded with two goals of their own and lead after the first period. Yet, they weren’t able to build on the advantage they had built for themselves and allowed the Blues to tie the game late into the second period. Even despite this, the Wild were at home and should have been able to put up a fight in the third period but the Blues shut them out. Behind a third period hat trick from winger Vladimir Tarasenko, the Blues buried the Wild in front of a loud and sold-out crowd at Xcel Energy Center.
History tells us that when a team wins a game five in a best of seven series, when the series was tied two games apiece, that game give winner normally goes on to win the series more than 79 percent of the time. That bodes well for the Blues, especially since they are now one win away from advancing to the second round and will get the chance to do so in front of their home crowd.
The Wild relied on their depth all season long to help compliment the star power of Kirill Kaprizov but when they needed it most, nobody else stepped up. Kaprizov scored both goals for the Wild and it was a one-man show for Minnesota. Even the future Hall-of-Fame bound goalie that the Wild had gone out to get prior to the postseason, couldn’t help them get this win. If the Wild do indeed lose this playoff series, the coaching staff will likely have to answer some questions about the goaltending. While Marc-Andre Fleury is the more decorated of the goalies on the roster and more experienced, he has looked out of sorts for a lot of this series against the Blues.
Despite all this, the Wild should have been able to generate more offense than just the two goals they scored in the first period. Credit to the Blues and their goaltending for shutting down the Minnesota offense. The Blues have no intention of playing back in Minnesota until next season so game six is likely to be a battle between two good teams. It’s desperation time for the Wild and once again, passionate Minnesota fans have a feeling of dread when it comes to their local teams in the playoffs. If Minnesota is going to force a game seven back in their home arena, others besides Kaprizov will need to step up. He can’t do it alone, even if it seems like he has the skills to do so at times.