Lehtera helps Blues defeat Wild 4-2

AP News
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Posted: Mar 06, 2016 10:56 PM
Lehtera helps Blues defeat Wild 4-2

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Jori Lehtera scored in his return to the lineup and the St. Louis Blues held on to beat the Minnesota Wild 4-2 on Sunday night.

Ryan Reaves, Patrik Berglund and Robby Fabbri also scored for St. Louis, which won its third straight. The Blues have victories in seven of their past eight road games.

St. Louis, playing its first game since an 11-round shootout win Tuesday in Ottawa, remained two points back of Chicago and Dallas in the Central Division. The Blackhawks beat Detroit 4-1 and Dallas won 2-1 in Ottawa on Sunday. Each team has 15 games left.

Ryan Suter and Matt Dumba scored for Minnesota, which lost for the first time in five games. The Wild remained two points ahead of Colorado for the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

Lehtera was back following a three-game absence after being hit in the face by a puck on Feb. 25. He intercepted a pass by Mike Reilly at center ice, split the defenders and beat Devan Dubnyk with a slap shot 7:44 into the game for a 1-0 lead. St. Louis had seven of the game's first eight shots.

Less than two minutes later, Reaves' wrist shot from the right circle beat Dubnyk on the glove side for a soft goal. Minnesota unsuccessfully challenged that St. Louis was offside. In consultation with league hockey operations staff, the officials ruled Kyle Brodziak had possession and control of the puck entering the zone, even though he skated in backward with his skates crossing the blue line before the puck.

Another bad goal gave the Blues a 3-0 lead midway through the second. Dubnyk stopped David Backes' shot from the right circle, but the rebound went directly to Berglund alone at the edge of the left circle. He quickly put the puck into the Wild net for a 3-0 lead.

Dubnyk, who finished with 13 saves, was replaced by Kuemper. He finished with 18 saves.

Minnesota rallied in the third, starting when Suter scored midway through the period on a backhander in front. Dumba scored with 5:20 to play, poking the puck in from the edge of the crease after a pass from Charlie Coyle got through traffic.

Fabbri added an empty-net goal with 1:31 to go.

NOTES: St. Louis has 12 goals in its three straight wins after scoring just four times during a three-game losing streak. ... C Jarrett Stoll was a healthy scratch for Minnesota, the first game he's missed since being claimed off waivers Dec. 15. . RW Jason Pominville played his 231st straight game for Minnesota, tying Brodziak — now a St. Louis center — for the second-longest streak in team history. LW Antti Laaksonen played in 283 in a row.