ST. LOUIS – After shaking off a frustrating overtime, the Minnesota Wild finally ended their free fall.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored in regulation and in the shootout in a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues Tuesday night, helping the Wild end an eight-game losing streak that had dropped them to 12th in the Western Conference.
“It’s just good for the guys to get a win,” forward Eric Nystrom said. “It’s really hard on us. You leave the rink and you want to leave the game there, but it just dwells on you. It’s good to feel good about ourselves.”
Chris Stewart scored twice for the fifth time in 20 games since joining the Blues, who had their penalty kill unit out for more than half of the overtime. St. Louis faced much tighter defence three days after winning 6-3 at Minnesota while taking 47 shots, and had only a 29-28 advantage in the rematch.
“Overall we played a good game, but we got in penalty trouble,” goalie Jaroslav Halak said. “Especially at the end of the game we’ve got to keep it simple. At least we got one point.”
The Wild outshot St. Louis 8-1 in the extra period. No doubt frustrating at the time, it was forgotten after beating the Blues for the third time in four meetings.
“I always say it’s a good sign when you get chances,” said Mikko Koivu, who got the deciding goal in the shootout. “Keep getting shots like that and opportunities will go in sooner or later.”
Bouchard and Koivu beat Halak the first two rounds of the shootout while Jose Theodore stopped two of the Blues’ three attempts. Minnesota, which had been outscored 37-12 during the slump, also tied a franchise record with its 19th road victory.
Stewart’s backhander put the Blues up 2-1 on the first shot of the third period. But the Wild quickly answered as Bouchard circled the offensive zone before tying it less than 2 1/2 minutes later.
Nystrom ended an eight-game point drought on the Wild’s first shot of the game from the high slot, perhaps catching Halak off guard. The Blues tied it midway through the first period on Stewart’s one-timer off Patrik Berglund’s backhand feed from the side of the net.
Stewart has 12 goals in 20 games since coming in a trade from Colorado, seven of them on the power play.
“I said that from Day 1, as soon as I got here the adjustment was very easy,” Stewart said. “They made the transition for me so easy I felt like I’d been here my whole career.”
The Blues missed a chance to take the lead in the closing seconds of the second period when David Backes’ deflection through Theodore’s pads hit the post.
NOTES: Berglund has 47 points, matching his career best in his 2008-09 rookie season. … Nystrom had been scoreless the previous eight games. … The Blues have sold out all 38 home games. … There was mild booing when T.J. Oshie’s name was announced among the Blues’ scratches. Oshie served the first of a two-game disciplinary suspension after missing practice on Monday. … The Wild also had 19 road wins in 2006-07 and 2007-08.