Devan Dubnyk made 17 saves and Jason Pominville and Zach Parise scored second-period goals and the Minnesota Wild earned a 3-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues in Game 3 of their Western Conference series on Monday.
Mikael Granlund had two assists, Nino Niederreiter added an empty-netter and the Wild had the edge in every way, without being drawn into a single trip to the penalty box.
St. Louis' Jake Allen stopped 21 shots, with the over-capacity crowd taunting him with chants of his last name throughout the game, but the Blues lost on the road in the playoffs for the ninth straight time.
Game 4 is in Minnesota on Wednesday.
U.S. & World
After that, the series shifts south to St. Louis on Friday for Game 5.
They've advanced past the first round only once since 2002, when they beat San Jose in 2012. That was the year of their most recent postseason victory away from St. Louis, a 3-1 decision on April 19.
After getting a hat trick in the Game 2 victory at home for the Blues on Saturday, Vladimir Tarasenko was held without a shot on goal, just as he was in Game 1.
Allen gave up a bunch of big rebounds, and Charlie Coyle and Thomas Vanek were among the skaters who narrowly missed on prime scoring chances. The Wild took control in the middle of the game, though, with their first line leading the way.
Granlund put a slick move on Tarasenko and sped past the prolific right wing on the rush. His shot was blocked by Carl Gunnarsson, but the ricochet went to Parise, who threaded a perfect pass to Pominville for the simple tap-in at 14:08.
On their next shift, Parise was tied up with Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk in the slot when he managed to snap the puck past Allen for the two-goal lead with 3:47 remaining in the second period.
Granlund nearly matched his line mates when Parise and Pominville set him up with a wide-open net. The young center was too fast to score, just a little too deep, and his shot hit the near post and bounced back.
The Blues had to be happy at the first intermission, having kept the game scoreless for the first 20 minutes despite being outshot 9-4, outhit 16-10 and penalized once for a Wild power play. The Blues blocked eight shots in the first period, but Allen was plenty busy.
The intensity between these similarly constructed Central Division opponents has been palpable, sure to heighten the rivalry once it resumes again next season.
Jason Zucker, one of several Wild players who Blues agitator Steve Ott has tried to provoke in this series, irritated Shattenkirk with a mild whack at Allen as he skated by in the first period. Shattenkirk gave Zucker a light shove, and Zucker stuck his tongue out with a big, sarcastic smile.
The Wild have deftly avoided the penalty goading the Blues have tried, another sign of the confidence and discipline this team has displayed since their mid-January turnaround.
Ott attempted a check on Jonas Brodin in front of the Wild bench in the second period, and Matt Dumba mischievously tugged on Ott's stick, riling up the veteran center as he returned to the play.