By JOE HARRIS
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Jordan Binnington made 25 saves and the St. Louis Blues beat the Minnesota Wild 5-1 on Thursday night in Game 6 to advance to the second round of the Western Conference playoffs.
Ryan O’Reilly, Tyler Bozak and Vladimir Tarasenko scored in a dominant second period during which the Blues outshot the Wild 22-5 and took control of the game.
Nick Leddy also scored, Colton Parayko added an empty-netter and David Perron had two assists as St. Louis won its first series since defeating the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final in 2019.
The Blues will travel to Colorado to face the Avalanche in Game 1 of the second round. The date and time had not yet been announced.
Matt Dumba scored in the third period for the Wild, who hit three posts in the game, including two in the third.
After losing Games 4 and 5 and facing a must-win, Wild coach Dean Evason started Cam Talbot over Marc-Andre Fleury in goal. Talbot, who finished the regular season on a 13-0-3 run, made 22 saves.
Leddy gave the Blues a 1-0 lead with 5:01 left in the first period. It was the first goal by a Blues defenseman in the series.
Binnington helped the Blues overcome a shaky start in the first by erasing several quality Wild chances coming off turnovers. He also got help from his post on Marcus Foligno’s shot.
O’Reilly’s power-play goal gave the Blues a 2-0 lead midway through the second period. Brayden Schenn set up the one-timer from the slot with a perfect pass from behind the net.
Bozak cleaned up a rebound off Alexei Toropchenko’s shot to extend St. Louis’ advantage later in the second. Toropchenko created the chance by getting around Mats Zuccarello while driving to the net.
Tarasenko’s power-play goal with 1:24 left in the second made it 4-0. It was his fourth goal in the last two games.
Tarasenko passed Doug Gilmour for the fourth-most postseason points in Blues franchise history with his hat trick in Game 5. Tarasenko (57 points) is one point shy of tying Al MacInnis for third.
FACE IN THE CROWD
St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright attended the game and participated in the pregame hype by beating on a large drum and leading the crowd in a “Let’s Go Blues” chant. Fellow Cardinals Steven Matz, Paul Goldschmidt, Harrison Bader and Giovanny Gallegos and manager Oliver Marmol also attended the game.
NOTES: The Blues had at least one power-play goal in each game. They went 8 for 26 in the series.
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