ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — David Perron was quarantined in his basement final yr, listening to his children run round upstairs and watching the St. Louis Blues get swept out of the primary spherical.
The 15-year veteran proper wing positive confirmed his appreciation for being again within the playoffs.
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Perron had a hat trick and an help to steer the Blues previous the Minnesota Wild 4-0 on Monday night time in Sport 1 of their first-round sequence, one yr after COVID-19 saved him out of the postseason.
“It’s been a great distance coming,” mentioned Perron, who’s on his third stint with St. Louis and posted the 14th three-goal recreation in franchise historical past. “I’ve lots of delight carrying the Blue notice.”
Ryan O’Reilly had a objective and an help, Torey Krug added three assists and Ville Husso made 37 saves for the shutout in his postseason debut for the Blues, who seized home-ice benefit from a Wild workforce they’ve had their method with in recent times.
By blocking 17 pictures, clogging the passing lanes and dominating on each particular groups, the assured Blues quieted Xcel Power Heart rapidly with a 2-0 first-period lead and by no means let the group — that the Wild pushed so arduous to play in entrance of to start out the postseason — grow to be an element.
“It’s a part of the sport and it’s essential, however we’ve been a superb highway workforce for fairly a while right here,” Blues coach Craig Berube mentioned.
Notably on the facility play, having led the league with a 29.4% scoring fee in 41 highway video games this season. Perron scored on every of the primary two energy performs for the the Blues, who went 6 for six on the penalty kill.
That was the best supply of frustration for the Wild on an evening marked by up-close misfires and clanged posts. They’d a 55-28 edge on the Blues in pictures tried over the primary two intervals, however 14 of them went large of the online.
“Our view from the attention view is that we have been fairly good,” Wild coach Dean Evason mentioned. “We had fairly good alternatives, and we didn’t give a lot on the opposite finish. That’ll give us lots of positivity going ahead.”
Sport 2 is right here Wednesday night time, earlier than the sequence shifts south to St. Louis.
Marc-Andre Fleury bought the nod in objective for the Wild over All-Star Cam Talbot, who went 13-0-3 in his final 16 begins. Fleury, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner and three-time Stanley Cup champion, was acquired in a commerce with Chicago on March 21.
READ MORE: Wild Prepared For First Spherical Playoff Sequence With St. Louis Blues
The Wild have been insistent there was no unhealthy choice to make and that each goalies can be wanted all through the postseason, but when they don’t get their particular groups on monitor this is perhaps a brief run. The Wild set franchise information for wins (53) and factors (113) to nudge previous the Blues for second place within the Central Division, regardless of an influence play that ranked 18th within the NHL and a penalty kill that was twenty fifth within the league.
Fleury began robust with a pad save on a penalty shot by Ivan Barbashev, however Perron put the Blues on the board lower than three minutes later. After Brayden Schenn checked Wild defenseman Matt Dumba to the pinnacle and knocked him over, Jordan Greenway was known as for roughing to provide the Blues their first energy play. Perron scored on a rebound, flinging his physique ahead to land on his knees after his stick linked with the puck simply earlier than the extra-skater time expired.
Fleury stopped 27 pictures.
Husso was picked over Jordan Binnington, who backstopped the Blues all the best way to the Stanley Cup title as a rookie in 2019. For the primary recreation, not less than, the inexperience as soon as once more didn’t matter within the St. Louis internet.
“It’s very nice for a primary playoff recreation,” Husso mentioned. “We have been prepared instantly.”
Perron has loads of time on ice when the moments are essentially the most tense, with 92 profession playoff video games coming into the sequence. None final yr, although, as a result of he needed to sit out with the virus whereas the Blues have been swept by Colorado.
“The worst half is just not being part of the workforce, simply serving to out nonetheless you may,” Perron mentioned. “I used to be actually going loopy.”
Perron bounced again in a giant method towards his pal — and fellow Quebecois — Fleury, who performed with him on the Vegas workforce that reached the Stanley Cup finals in 2018 and likewise with Pittsburgh in 2015.
“We all know one another very properly. He’s a superb shooter. He’s at all times a risk across the internet, I do know,” Fleury mentioned. “It looks like each puck on the facility play simply ended up on his stick.”
The Blues held defenseman Marco Scandella (decrease physique) out with an damage that occurred of their second-to-last common season recreation. Niko Mikola took his place on the third pair. … Defenseman Alex Goligoski was essentially the most notable wholesome scratch for the Wild. … The final time the Wild had home-ice benefit for the playoffs in 2017, the Blues received the primary two video games in Minnesota and took the sequence in 5 video games.
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