During their seven-game losing streak, the Blues scored a whopping eight goals. Last night, they scored nine. Zach Sanford, Jaden Schwartz (2), Sammy Blais, Ryan O’Reilly (3), Justin Faulk, and Ivan Barbashev all scored, with eight additional players appearing on the scoresheet with assists (Faulk, Blais, and O’Reilly added assists of their own). That’s 14 Blues on the scoresheet in one game.
What I’m saying here is that Wild goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen had a very, very, very bad night. The question is, will Cam Talbot have a rough night tonight? Talbot’s had an excellent season, and his last game against the Blues was a 37 save shutout.
Halfway through the blowout last night, the Wild began to focus on tonight’s game. You can’t blame them, and it’s doubtful that they’ll turn in two clunker performances on back to back evenings. Zach Parise said exactly what he needed to say after the game:
“The teams below you, you want to push them down even further, and that wasn’t the case on [Friday night]. But again, we’ll rebound [on Saturday] and have a better game, but you always wanna create more of that separation with the teams below you and yourself, so with how much we’re going to be playing them coming up, we’ve just gotta be a lot better.”
And of course the teams above the Blues are the ones with a target on their backs. They have six more games against the Wild this season and are now eight points behind them. They’re not going to get four first period goals against Minnesota every night, but if they keep up the sustained pressure that they showed on Friday night the team may be able to close some of the gap.
The only smudge on last night’s stellar game didn’t come from the Blues, but happened to a Blue. Robert Thomas left late in the third period after being boarded by Carson Soucy. Soucy’s penalty led to the power play in which that Ivan Barbashev scored the last Blues goal. Coach Craig Berube said that Thomas was going to be evaluated and will be out for a bit, so perhaps Mike Hoffman gets included in the line-up for the first time since Monday’s loss to the Golden Knights.