Harding Wins Goaltending Duel in Shootout

SAINT PAUL – David Backes’s line contributed for the St. Louis Blues in a big way Saturday night, but the team still fell short to the Minnesota Wild. The team earned a point, but Mikko Koivu delivered three devastating blows to Jaroslav Halak, netting both regulation goals and scoring on his chance in the shootout.

Backes got the Blues rolling with a first period goal. T.J.Oshie threw a backhander towards Wild goaltender Josh Harding. Backes scooped up the rebound to gain that elusive lead on the road.

Early in the second, Cal Clutterbuck took a charging penalty. On the ensuing Blues’ powerplay, Koivu intercepted a weak pass behind the Blues’ net off the stick of Patrik Berglund, swung around to the front of the net, and roofed the puck past Halak. Koivu’s shorthanded goal swung momentum back into Wild favor. At the end of two periods, the teams were tied 1-1.

Ken Hitchcock’s team responded with an early third period goal. Again, Backes’s line got things done.  Alex Steen slid a puck into the slot, allowing Oshie an easy tip-in.

At 18:44 into the third period, Jason Arnott took a slashing penalty, granting the Wild a powerplay. Koivu made the Blues pay again. With the game tying goal, the Wild pushed the game to overtime.

Neither team was able to end the game in overtime, sending the game to a shootout.  Koivu got the Wild on the board, but Oshie responded with an equalizer. On the Wild’s third attempt, Matt Cullen buried the game winner. Kevin Shattenkirk was given an opportunity to tie the shootout, but Harding made a critical save to secure Wild victory.

The Blues come home to take on the Los Angeles Kings Tuesday night. Game time is 6:30 p.m. CST and the game will air on Fox Sports Midwest.

Blue Notes

  • David Perron is practicing—without his red no-contact jersey. The Blues forward, who missed the final 72 games of the 2010-11 season after sustaining a concussion, can finally participate fully in practice. Perron is awaiting game clearance, but until then, will continue getting into shape and refamiliarizing himself with the game.
  • The Blues are now 4-0-2 under new coach Ken Hitchcock.
  • Despite Blues loss, Halak made 30 saves. Though he struggled earlier this season, Halak has shown flashes of brilliance lately.
  • The Blues gave up a third period goal for the first time in six games.
  • Ian Cole dressed for an injured Carlo Colaiacovo. Cole played 18:22 and was placed on the top pairing opposite Alex Pietrangelo.
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