ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Brandon Saad extended his goal streak to a career-best four straight games, Brayden Schenn scored twice, and Thomas Greiss made 36 saves for his first shutout of the season to lead the St. Louis Blues past the Minnesota Wild 3-0 on Sunday night.
Saad also set up Schenn’s insurance goal for the Blues in the third period, just after a power play expired for the Wild. Schenn added an empty netter in the closing seconds.
Schenn tripped Kirill Kaprizov with 8:12 remaining, but Greiss — making his first start for Jordan Binnington in eight games since Dec. 20 — stood strong against the extra skater and stopped a whopping 24 shots in the third period.
The Blues, who have been ravaged this season by injuries and most recently lost captain Ryan O’Reilly (foot) and prolific scorer Vladimir Tarasenko (hand), improved to 8-3-3 in their last 14 games. They went 3-1 on this four-game road trip and reached the midpoint of the 82-game schedule on a strong note.
Wild goalie Filip Gustavsson did more than enough to keep his team competitive through two sluggish periods before they got back to full strength and cranked up the attack down the stretch. He made 21 saves.
The Wild lost for the first time in eight games this season against an opponent on the second half of a back-to-back set of games.
The Wild played without primary goalie Marc-Andre Fleury because of a personal matter, a game that likely would’ve already gone to Gustavsson on the second half of the back-to-back. Gustavsson’s status was in question, too, after an illness forced him out of the net in the final minutes of the 5-1 win over Tampa Bay on Thursday.
When Mason Shaw’s high stick drew blood on Steven Santini, the Blues were awarded a 4-minute power play they cashed in on less than halfway through the man advantage. Colton Parayko’s initial shot was knocked down by Gustavsson and the rebound popped out to Jake Neighbours, whose quick, slick pass across the slot fed Saad for his sixth goal in six games.
The Blues have a power-play goal in nine of their last 11 games.
Greiss was at his best in the final minute of the first period, when he kicked aside a snapshot by Matt Boldy off the rush and seconds later came out of the crease to deny Kaprizov.
The game got worse for the Wild before it got better. Ryan Hartman and Joel Eriksson Ek both left with injuries in the second period, leaving the team with only nine forwards for several shifts. Hartman was roughed up by Robert Thomas behind the net, and Eriksson Ek’s face collided with Noel Acciari’s shoulder.
Alex Goligoski was in the lineup for Minnesota as the seventh defenseman, with Jordan Greenway scratched with an illness and Mats Zuccarello out for the second straight game with an injury. Both Hartman and Eriksson Ek returned for the third period.
Blues: Return home for two games against Calgary on Tuesday and Thursday.
Wild: Travel to New York to play the Rangers on Tuesday and the Islanders on Thursday.
By DAVE CAMPBELL, AP Sports Writer