ST. LOUIS (AP) – The Minnesota Wild got a break, and Charlie Coyle delivered.
Coyle scored off a miscue by Jake Allen, Devan Dubnyk made 28 saves and the Wild stayed alive with a 2-0 win over the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series on Wednesday night.
Dubnyk’s second playoff shutout came almost two years to the day of his first, also against the Blues on April 20, 2015. Martin Hanzal also scored for Minnesota in the second.
“Shutouts always feel good and I felt really good tonight,” Dubnyk said. “I felt that the guys did a really good job just allowing me to trust exactly what was going on in front of me, exactly what was open, what wasn’t, so I was able to square up to shots and hold onto rebounds.”
Allen made 26 saves. He entered having stopping 114 of the Wild’s first 117 shots in the series.
St. Louis still leads the best-of-seven series 3-1 heading into Game 5 at Minnesota on Saturday.
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“It’s only one game, they’ve still got a hell of an advantage three games to one,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. “I think we can play a lot better still than we played tonight. It’s still going to be an uphill battle.”
A costly mistake by Allen set up Minnesota’s first goal. He went to play the puck behind the net and passed it right to Coyle, who buried the open look at 16:50.
“We’ll certainly take it, a fumble on his part,” Coyle said. “It was fortunate to go in and we’ll take it to kind of get us going right.”
Coyle’s second of the playoffs gave Minnesota its first lead of the series after 214 minutes, 38 seconds.
“We were shooting and we were going to the net the first three games but nothing went in,” Hanzal said. “I think that was a little momentum to our side because we had the lead. Maybe that was a little more confidence to our side, because they had to chase the game.”
Allen downplayed the sequence.
“Just threw it on the boards like I usually do,” Allen said. “Lucky they had a guy there. Not a big deal.”
Hanzal beat Allen cleanly on the glove side to make it 2-0 with 3:19 left in the second period.
Dubnyk made several big saves as the Blues stepped up their offensive push, outshooting the Wild 12-10 in the second frame after putting just four shots on goal in the first.
“We were a step slow,” Blues forward Alexander Steen said. “The decision-making was a little slower today. They were on point, like we expected them to be. Another tight one. Tonight, we end up losing because of those details.”
Dubnyk’s best save of the night came on a Joel Edmundson break early in the third period.
“The whole team was great tonight,” Hanzal said. “It starts with Duby, he was outstanding, and the whole team was just fighting for every battle, every puck.”
Allen kept the Blues in the game with a pad save on a point-blank attempt by Eric Staal midway through the third.
Dubnyk said the Wild need to keep the same sense of urgency for Game 5.
“We said coming into this game, we need to win one game and the only thing that matters is this one game,” Dubnyk said. “This is our Stanley Cup. And that’s going to be the same thing on Saturday, because if not, it’s over.”
NOTES: Wild F Mikael Granlund played on a line with Coyle and Staal, while Mikko Koivu centered a line with Nino Niederreiter and Zach Parise. It was the first time since Thanksgiving that Granlund and Koivu played on separate lines. … Koivu was named a finalist for the Selke Trophy. … Wild C Erik Haula (upper body) was scratched and was replaced by Joel Eriksson Ek.
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