Written by Jeremy Rutherford at St.Louis Dispatch
A crowd 19,721 strong — the largest at Scottrade Center this season — was in their seats early chanting “Let’s Go Blues!” A video message from Arianna Dougan, the 11-year-old cancer patient who recently attended a Blues’ road trip as the guest of Vladimir Tarasenko, played on the Jumbo-tron. “Go Blues!” she shrieked. The puck dropped and they had a chance to sweep a playoff series for the first time since 2001.
The Blues had more motivation than perhaps needed going into Game 4 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series against Minnesota on Wednesday night and somehow it wasn’t enough.
The Blues came out flat and their emotions showed up too late, allowing the Wild to prevail 2-0 on goals by Charlie Coyle and Martin Hanzal and a 28-save shutout by goaltender Devan Dubnyk. The Blues now lead the best-of-seven series 3-1 as it heads back to Minnesota for Game 5 Saturday at 2 p.m. at Xcel Energy Center.
“That’s what you’re dealing with this time of year, the emotions,” Blues coach Mike Yeo said. “Whether it’s lack of desperation or nerves, we were on our heels. We let them dictate and not a good recipe.”
Minnesota was just more desperate Wednesday, and that was evident when Wild coach Bruce Boudreau pulled a maneuver rarely seen in the NHL. He insisted Wednesday morning that despite having an offense with just three goals in the three games of the series, he was keeping his lines the same. He even went to the extreme of having his players skate their old combinations during the pre-game warmups, and then switch to the new ones at the start of the game.
“We’re down 3-0, you’ve got to try everything you can try,” Boudreau said. “Down 3-0, all the tricks are out of the bag.”
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