By JOE HARRIS, Associated Press
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Jordan Binnington made 25 saves and the St. Louis Blues beat the Minnesota Wild 5-1 Thursday night in Game 6 to advance to the second round of the Western Conference playoffs .
Ryan O’Reilly, Tyler Bozak and Vladimir Tarasenko scored in a dominant second period in which the Blues outshot the Wild 22-5 and took control of the game.
Nick Leddy also scored, Colton Parayko added an empty net and David Perron had two assists as St. Louis won its first series since losing to the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2019.
The Blues will travel to Colorado to face the Avalanche in Game 1 of Round 2. The date and time had not yet been announced.
Matt Dumba scored in the third period for the Wild, who hit three posts in the game, including two in the third.
After losing Games 4 and 5 and facing a must win, Wild coach Dean Evason pitched Cam Talbot against Marc-Andre Fleury in goal. Talbot, who finished the regular season on a 13-0-3 streak, made 22 saves.
Leddy gave the Blues a 1-0 lead with 5:01 left in the first period. It was the first goal by a Blues defenseman in the series.
Binnington helped the Blues overcome a shaky start in the first by erasing several quality chances from the Wild following turnovers. He was also helped by his position on Marcus Foligno’s shot.
O’Reilly’s power-play goal gave the Blues a 2-0 lead midway through the second period. Brayden Schenn set up the one-timer from the slot with a perfect pass behind the net.
Bozak grabbed a rebound off Alexei Toropchenko’s shot to extend St. Louis’ advantage later in the second. Toropchenko created the chance by rounding Mats Zuccarello while driving towards the net.
Tarasenko’s power-play goal with 1:24 left in the second made it 4-0. It was his fourth goal in the last two games.
Tarasenko passed Doug Gilmour for the fourth-most playoff points in Blues franchise history with his hat-trick in Game 5. Tarasenko (57 points) is one point away from tying Al MacInnis for third place.
St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright attended the game and added to the pre-game hype by beating on a big drum and leading the crowd in a “Let’s Go Blues” chant. Fellow Cardinals Steven Matz, Paul Goldschmidt, Harrison Bader and Giovanny Gallegos and manager Oliver Marmol also attended the match.
NOTES: The Blues have scored at least one power-play goal in every game. They went 8 for 26 in the series.
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