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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:41 am 
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While joking that he's not answering calls from numbers with Twin Cities area codes, St. Louis coach Mike Yeo said he doesn't want the Blues' first-round playoff series with the Wild to be about him and his history in Minnesota.

Good luck with that. Yeo has been the head man behind the Blues bench for barely two months. Before that, Yeo spent parts of five seasons coaching the Wild.

His family still lives in Minnesota. His son skated in the famed Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament last month. He was the coach of the Wild two seasons ago when they upset the Blues in round one of the playoffs.

There are endless connections between the teams, and Yeo is at the center of nearly all of them, even if he's trying to put the focus elsewhere ahead of the Blues' first-round Western Conference playoff series vs. the Wild that starts Wednesday at the Xcel Energy Center.

"There's too much at stake and I will not allow it to get personal because my team, they need me to have the right mindset, have the right focus, have the right composure," Yeo said Tuesday while admitting that getting fired by the Wild in February 2016 was gut-wrenching.

"For me, this is playoff hockey, for me there's something much more at stake, something that's way bigger in my eyes than a little revenge here. It's the pursuit of winning the Stanley Cup, that's our focus and so we have a real tough opponent in our way and we'll be ready for that."

The Wild, who finished second in both the Central Division and in the Western Conference, will open a playoff series with a home game for just the third time in franchise history.

Minnesota last faced St. Louis in early March and lost, which was the start of a miserable 2-10-2 stretch that cost it the division title. But the Wild enter the playoffs on a four-game winning streak, which has optimism growing despite coach Bruce Boudreau's well-documented history of regular-season success followed by early playoff exits.

"It ramps up pretty good," Boudreau said of the playoff atmosphere. "There's no taking shifts off. There's no coasting."

While the Blues went all the way to the Western Conference Final last season, falling to San Jose in six games, the Wild fell to Dallas in a six-game opening-round series a year ago. But that was without offensive catalyst Zach Parise, who missed the series due to injury.

Parise is healthy now, despite needing a few stitches in his face recently, and is excited to get back at it.

"Playoffs is a fun time of year," said Parise, who went to the Stanley Cup Final in his final season in New Jersey and has now been a part of five consecutive trips to the playoffs in Minnesota.

"It's been a different scenario for us than in the past couple years. We've known we're going to be in for a while, and we've been excited and me personally I'm really looking forward to it."

With 49 wins and 106 points, The Wild had their finest regular season since they premiered as an expansion team in 2000. But their former coach may have the team to end that fun ride in a hurry.


This day in history:
1968 Red Berenson named NHL Western Division Player of the Year
1976 Emile Frances named Head Coach & GM of the Blues
1992 Brett Hull becomes 3rd fastest player to score 300 goals also scoring his 500th point in 1-1 tie with North Stars
1988 Brett hull scores his 6th goal in 5 games and 3rd GW goal to beat the Blackhawks 5-3 and win the Norris Division semi-finals
1990 Kelly Chase scores his 1st playoff goal in Blues 4-3 win over Maple Leafs
1991 Adam Oates recorded his 1st career playoff hat trick in Blues 6-1 win over Red Wings
1991 Blues and Red Wings set NHL playoff record for penalties (66), penalties by one team (33), and PIM (298).

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:55 am 
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All right, here we go! Let's go Blues!!

:letsgoblues: :letsgoblues: :letsgoblues:

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:19 pm 
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Forwards
Jaden Schwartz - Ivan Barbashev - Vladimir Tarasenko
Magnus Paajarvi - Patrik Berglund - David Perron
Vladimir Sobotka - Jori Lehtera - Alexander Steen
Scottie Upshall - Kyle Brodziak - Ryan Reaves

Defense
Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo
Joel Edmundson - Colton Parayko
Carl Gunnarsson - Jordan Schmaltz

Goalie
Jake Allen
Quote:
The Blues are facing the Wild for just the second time in the postseason. The Blues went 3-2-0 vs. the Wild in the regular season, including one shootout win. Vladimir Tarasenko led the Blues with three goals against the Wild while Jaden Schwartz paced the team with four points overall (two goals, two assists). St. Louis will look to continue their road momentum. They finished the regular season by winning 17 of their last 24 road games, including a league-best plus-27 road goal differential during that span.

What to Watch

The last time these two teams met in the postseason, Vladimir Tarasenko was lethal, scoring six times on just 14 shots (42.9 percent). Tarasenko has logged 19 goals in 33 career playoff games for a 0.58 goals per game average that leads all active players. Tarasenko finished the 2016-17 regular season with 39 goals - tied for fourth overall.

Blues Playoff History

2017 marks the Blues' 41st postseason appearance - the most among all 1967 expansion franchises
Last season, the Blues advanced to the Conference Final for the first time since 2001
The Blues made a franchise record 25 consecutive playoff appearances from 1980 to 2004
The Blues appeared in the Stanley Cup Finals in each of their first three seasons (1968-70)
Blues Career Playoff Leaders (current Blues)

Goals
Vladimir Tarasenko, 19
Paul Stastny, 12
Patrik Berglund, 10
Alexander Steen, 10

Assists
Paul Stastny, 20
Alex Pietrangelo, 18
Jaden Schwartz, 15

Points
Paul Stastny, 32
Vladimir Tarasenko, 26
Alexander Steen, 24

Blues Playoff Streaking

Longest Active Playoff Streaks, NHL
11: Pittsburgh Penguins (since 2006-07)
9: Chicago Blackhawks (since 2008-09)
7: New York Rangers (since 2010-11)
6: St. Louis Blues (since 2011-12)

Quick Hits

The Blues and Wild combined for just two power-play goals (one each) on 24 total attempts during their regular season series
During the regular season series, the Blues registered 33 takeaways compared to just eight giveaways vs. the Wild
Jake Allen made four starts vs. the Wild this season, posting a 3-1-0 record, a 1.97 goals-against average and a .927 save-percentage
Prior to the advent of the Wild, the Blues faced the Minnesota North Stars nine times in the postseason
The Blues won four of their final six road games in the 2016 postseason

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:29 pm 
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Thank goodness Yeo is leaving Barbashev with Tarasenko and Schwartz. Those last couple of games, the three of them were creating amazing chances with outstanding, quick, short passes - the kind which really screw with structured defenses.

We will still likely see Boats taking face-offs with that top line on some shifts depending on game situation and importance of the draw. Wouldn't be surprised if they use Boats the way Stastny and Brodziak were used for defensive zone draws on occasion. Win the draw, clear the zone, and get off the ice for the normal C for the line.

One other note - Statsny not being in the lineup might not make a difference for the games @ Minnesota. Road games against the Wild this season are one of the few times he was under 50% (31/63 49%) total in face-offs. Home games are a completely different animal. Berglund, on the other hand, had a positive face-off win% (51%) vs the Wild on the road. I know, it's only 2% difference...

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:21 pm 
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Get it, boys.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:26 pm 
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Blues 3, Wild 2 (1 OT)

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:31 pm 
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Clean up those D-zone turnovers and the Blues are fine. Almost every chance from the slot for the Wild were the result of really bad Blues giveaways. Not sure what Tank was barking to Pietrangelo about on that PP with them shifting to the 1-3-1 putting #27 in the middle with #71 going to the net. I thought it took them too long to get Sobotka in front, but once he was there - way to get in Dubnyk's kitchen.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:52 pm 
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Sobotka makes no mistake!!! The 9 - goal man!!! Blues lead 1-0!!!

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:02 pm 
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Blues need to take advantage of this power play!

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:05 pm 
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I love that Ryan Reaves didn't throw his head back to exaggerate the high-stick and skated right through it, instead. Made the call even easier for the ref.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:10 pm 
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2 Fantastic lead-saving saves by Allen!!!

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:31 pm 
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Blues rookies playing like rookies. Schmaltz and Barbashev need to clean up their d-zone puck management.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:44 pm 
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Nice rebound snuff by Allen! He's in the zone!

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:46 pm 
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The Blues need to take advantage of a Wild mistake and score again. They can't sit on this 1-goal lead for 12+ minutes.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:54 pm 
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Allen with several great saves!! Saving the lead! Bouwmeester saved the game, too.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:20 pm 
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Remember that conversation about the Wild not losing because they were playing poorly? Blues were badly outplayed through 3 periods and held a 1-0 lead. The only reason they are still tied is Jake Allen standing on his head. Horrible neutral zone play. Can't win face-offs. No fore-checking. Not getting the puck deep. It seems like the only player on the Blues getting it deep consistently and trying to force a fore-check on the Wild is Magnus Paajarvi. This is not the way the Blues were playing the past 2 months with a lead. It is the way the Wild were playing, even when losing in March.

Blues need to WAKE THE F UP or they will lose.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:05 pm 
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Edmundson!!! Blues win!!!! Justice is served!!!

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:07 pm 
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:woohoo: :goblues:

Joel Edmundson's no celebration celebration.... AWESOME!!!!

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:12 pm 
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Even before 6 scored, boy was he solid. Arguably their best defenseman tonight.

Hell of a play by 91 on the winner.

How about that tendy, eh?

Lucky to win that one, but you need those this time of year. Especially on the road in a raucous building.

I'm tired.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:56 pm 
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I don't care how the wins come in the playoffs...especially on the road in game #1.

Allen was fantastic. Nothing else to really say about that.

And as was mentioned, the high shot total for the Wild was because the Blues wanted them to shoot from the outside...and that's where the vast majority of their shots came from. When they tried to work the puck into the slot and at the top of the crease, we were all over them.

Tarasenko didn't have many good looks. It would be nice if his line could get it in gear a bit more...granted, he did create the game winner...so there's that.

Schwartz looked great.

Our neutral zone play and transition game was pretty bad. Way too many turnovers in the neutral zone. The Wild were pressuring the puck carriers hard, and it was very effective.

We've seen what the Wild are going to bring...now make the necessary adjustments and let's see some better play in game #2.

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