Coming off the high of a thrilling Game 2 win at home and a Vladimir Tarasenko hat trick you would think the Blues would know how to play Game 3. Well they thought their Game 1 performance was so much better, so they went with that one instead. Yes if you want a recap of this game go back to the Thursday recap and just insert a few different names for the goal scorers and erase the Blues goals and you have tonight's game.
There is absolutely nothing I can say about the first period that would give it any excitement at all. Minnesota came out all hyped up as they should have and poured it on the Blues from the get go. The boys knew they would have to weather a storm to start the game but instead they evacuated, leaving all the precious family jewels at home. Jake Allen seems to be the only one who stuck around and his play in net is the only thing that kept the game scoreless.
I really wish there was more to say about the first but literally the only thing that happened was a Barret Jackman cross checking penalty that resulted in nothing for the Wild and no momentum swing for the Blues. The Blues would be out shot 9-4 and it could have been worse because they blocked 8 Wild shots as well.
If the Blues came out flat in the first I don't even know how to describe how the second period started and continued. Alexander Steen would take a hooking call a minute and a half in after the Wild got a odd man rush and through themselves at the net. Allen would continue to play savior, making sprawling save after save including a monster pad stop six minutes in.
But the Wild would continue to gain easy entry into the zone as the Blues laid off exactly like in Game 1 and Allen's stone wall would finally start to crack. Jason Pominville would get the easiest playoff goal of his life after a broken rush leads to Allen being out of the net and no one covering for him:
Two minutes later the Parise, Pominville, Backlund line would strike yet again. This time it is Zach Parise out playing three Blues players in front of the net for his first goal of the series:
The Blues would head into the third down 2-0 yet again this series and there was no indication they would be coming back either.
The third was the same mess as the rest of the game; lazy passes, no shots from scoring areas, Wild players entering the zone for free. Once again the Parise line would get a glorious opportunity mid way through the period but Granlund blew a wide open net chance. One would think a close call like that would light a fire under a teams ass and say hey the hockey gods are giving us a shot. Well not the Blues, they kept up the same tactics and continued to get no pressure on Devan Dubnyk.
Finally with three minutes to go the Blues would get an offensive zone faceoff and pulled Allen. But the Wild were just too hungry and made a 6 on 5 advantage look like a 5 on 3 penalty kill. Nino Niederreiter would end the misery with an empty net goal at 2:03 to go and the game couldn't end faster.
The takeaways from the game tonight seemed to be the lack of physical play that was exhibited in Game 2, what seemed like an inability to win key faceoffs in either zone even though we split the wins, and how the Wild avoided taking a single penalty all night. The Blues WILL HAVE to make roster changes before Game 4, maybe drop Gunnarsson for Bortuzzo and you have to get Porter in the lineup with Reaves and Goc. Allen has played amazing and you can't shatter his confidence by hanging him out to dry every game.
Game 4 is Wednesday night in Minnesota at 8:30 pm Central time and it is a Must Win for the Blues if they have any shot to win this series. I am so disgusted with this game and hope the Blues can pull their heads out of their asses and stick to the game plan.
#3 - Devan Dubnyk: 17 Saves on 17 "Shots"
#2 - Jason Pominville: Goal and Assist
#1 - Zach Parise: Goal and Assist, Best Player on the Ice all game