ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The St. Louis Blues are still showing some fight, despite slim playoff hopes.
The Minnesota Wild, meanwhile, are rapidly spiraling toward postseason elimination.
Chris Stewart and David Backes scored 23 seconds apart in the second period and the Blues dominated the Wild 6-3 Saturday night.
Matt D’Agostini, Adam Cracknell, Alex Pietrangelo and Patrik Berglund also scored for St. Louis, which won its second straight.
“We’ll keep playing hard until the end of the season whether we’re eliminated or not. There’s a lot of pride in this room,” Backes said. “Whether its Game 7 of the playoffs or game 75 that really has no playoff implications, you’re looking for guys that are putting it all out. We still have a pretty good group of 20 guys.”
Antti Miettinen scored twice and Marek Zidlicky once for Minnesota, winless in eight straight for the first time since a nine-game streak from Jan. 19-Feb. 8, 2002. The Wild have been oustcored 37-12 during this stretch of futility.
Minnesota is 11th in the Western Conference 10 points out of the last playoff spot and a point ahead of the Blues.
The Minnesota locker room was closed to reporters for 30 minutes after the game for a team meeting.
“I’ve said it before and there are probably questions out there, but there’s character in the room. There’s leadership in the room,” said Wild coach Todd Richards, who refused to say what was addressed behind the closed doors. “What we say and what we do in there will stay between the players and the coaches and the staff.”
The Blues held a 47-16 shots advantage, two nights after holding Edmonton to 12 shots in a 4-0 win.
Stewart gave the Blues a 3-2 lead at 7:09 of the second period following his own shot to poke a rebound past goaltender Nicklas Backstrom.
“We did a pretty good job of getting pucks in behind their defensemen and make them bring the pucks up through us,” Backes said. “We did a good job of stalling their rushes and that is our recipe for success.”
Backes, who grew up about 20 minutes from the Xcel Energy Center, came off the bench behind the Minnesota defense, took a long outlet pass from Pietrangelo and beat Backstrom on a breakaway for a 4-2 lead.
The Wild had four shots at that point.
“Anytime you can get a big swing of momentum it’s going to have an influence on the game,” Stewart said. “That’s where we kind of took over and got the bounces from there on in.”
Copyright Associated Press