Blues rough up Wild
ST. LOUIS — Right wing T.J. Oshie recorded the first hat trick of his career, leading the St. Louis Blues to a 5-1 win over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night.
Oshie scored two goals in the first period, including one on a breakaway when the Blues were short-handed, and then added his third when he deflected a shot by defenseman Jay Bouwmeester at 7:18 of the third period.
The three goals gave Oshie a career-high 21 this season, the fifth Blues player with 20 or more.
It was the second consecutive game in which a Blues player recorded a hat trick. Center David Backes had three goals against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night. St. Louis (50-16-7) recorded hat tricks in consecutive games for the first time since December 2000.
The win was the 50th of the season for the Blues, one shy of tying their franchise record, and it gave them 107 points for the season, one ahead of Boston in the race for the best record in the NHL. The Bruins defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 3-0 Thursday night.
Oshie gave the Blues the lead just 4:43 into the game when he picked up a loose puck in the slot and fired a wrist shot past goalie Darcy Kuemper.
While St. Louis defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk was serving a double minor penalty, Oshie intercepted a pass in the neutral zone and skated in alone and beat Kuemper again with 26 seconds left in the opening period.
The Blues increased the lead to 3-0 on a power-play goal by left wing Jaden Schwartz, his 23rd of the year, at 13:10 of the second period. With 11 seconds remaining in the penalty to center Mikael Granlund, Schwartz fired a wrist shot from the left circle past Kuemper, giving the Blues three goals on only 13 shots on goal.
Following Oshie’s third-period goal, left winger Brenden Morrow scored on a power play at 10:45 to make it a 5-0 game, but goalie Ryan Miller lost his bid for his first shutout since being acquired by the Blues just 26 seconds later on left winger Zach Parise’s 25th goal of the year.
Miller raised his record to 9-2-1 since being acquired by St. Louis from the Buffalo Sabres on Feb. 28.
The loss was the third in their last four games by the Wild, who could be the Blues’ opponent in the first round of the playoffs. The win was the ninth in a row by the Blues over the Wild (37-26-11) and was the fourth shutout during that stretch.
Notes: C Derek Roy returned to the Blues’ lineup after missing the previous two games with a lower-body injury. ... The Blues began a five-game homestand Thursday. St. Louis will play six of its remaining nine games at Scottrade Center. ... The Blues’ franchise record for wins is 51, set in the 1999-2000 season, the only time St. Louis won the President’s Trophy. ... The last time the Wild won a game in regulation in St. Louis was on Oct. 20, 2007. ... The starting time for the Blues’ final game of the year on April 13 against the Detroit Red Wings was changed to 11:30 a.m. CDT. The game will be televised by NBC. ... The Blues host the Dallas Stars on Saturday, while the Wild continue a four-game road trip Saturday in Phoenix against the Coyotes.