ST. LOUIS – Playing catchup agreed with the Minnesota Wild, who erased four one-goal deficits in regulation and two more in the shootout. Playing on the road was no problem, either.
Cal Clutterbuck scored twice and 37-year-old John Madden settled it in the ninth round of a shootout with his first attempt of the season in a 5-4 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Friday night.
Minnesota twice answered with goals in less than a minute and goalie Jose Theodore foiled five shooters who could have ended it in the shootout.
“Three shots, they had two goals,” Theodore said. “After that I adjusted a few things, my timing and everything.
“I knew I had to make the save.”
Martin Havlak forced overtime with 57.6 seconds to go, jamming the puck past Jaroslav Halak from the side of the net. Andrew Brunette had a goal and assisted on the tying goal that came after sustained pressure only four seconds after the Blues killed a penalty for too many men on the ice.
“They said four guys jumped on and two guys were still coming off and we played the puck,” forward David Backes said. “That’s the time of game we need to be on our toes, doing the job.
“We can’t get that point back ever, and it stings the way it happened.”
Backes had two goals and Andy McDonald added a goal and an assist for the Blues. But there was no joy in the locker room after the loss to a team ahead of them on the outskirts of the Western Conference playoff race.
“There’s no time to dwell and sulk and lick our wounds,” Backes said. “It’s time to regroup and come out flying tomorrow.”
Minnesota is 8-2 in its last 10 games, but had allowed only 13 goals in the previous nine. This was the first of a back-to-back, home-and-home series against St. Louis, with the teams meeting again Saturday night at Minnesota.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Mikko Koivu and Brent Burns also scored in the shootout, while T.J. Oshie, Brad Boyes and Alex Steen scored for the Blues. Madden scored on a backhand shot and Theodore stopped Vladimir Sobotka to decide it.
“I was impressed with the way we came back every single time,” coach Todd Richards said. “This isn’t an easy place to play.
“I liked the way we played, I like the way we competed.”
Theodore made must saves on Matt D’Agostini, Backes, Erik Johnson and Patrik Berglund in the shootout before foiling Vladimir Sobotka to clinch it.
“Three shots, they had two goals,” Theodore said. “Then after that, I adjusted a few things, my timing and everything.
“After that, I felt pretty solid.”
Madden beat Halak with a backhand shot.
“I really didn’t want to deke because the ice conditions were so bad,” Madden said. “I saw the puck roll on several guys on both teams. But you go with what you’ve got.”
Backes leads St. Louis with a career-best 20 goals, four of them in the last three games. The Blues’ top line of Backes, McDonald and Boyes has 13 points in the last four games.
Clutterbuck leads the Wild with 16 goals, the second coming easy to tie it 3-3 after Halak flubbed a clearing attempt behind the net at 41 seconds of the third period. It came only 22 seconds after Backes scored on a 2-on-1 break.
NOTES—Blues D Carlo Colaiacovo wore a helmet with full cage in his first game back from a seven-game absence after taking a puck to the eye. He played 16 minutes 41 seconds. … McDonald has four points in four games back from a concussion that sidelined him for 24 games. … The Wild are 16-9-3 on the road, among the best in the NHL.