ST PAUL, Minn — Brayden Schenn burst out of the St. Louis penalty box, joined the rush and scored the insurance goal 12 seconds later.
The banged-up Blues sure haven't given up on this season.
Brandon Saad extended his goal streak to a career-best four straight games, Schenn scored twice in the third period, and Thomas Greiss made 36 saves for his first shutout of the season to lead the Blues past the Minnesota Wild 3-0 on Sunday night.
“They know that we’ve lost a lot of players here, but we’ve got guys who are coming up and doing the job,” Blues coach Craig Berube said.
Saad set up the first goal by Schenn, who contested his tripping call on Kirill Kaprizov with 8:12 remaining and the Blues leading by one. Schenn added an empty netter in the closing seconds.
Greiss, making his first start for Jordan Binnington in eight games since Dec. 20, stopped a whopping 24 shots in the third period.
The Blues, who have been ravaged this season by injuries and most recently lost captain Ryan O’Reilly and prolific scorer Vladimir Tarasenko, improved to 8-3-3 in their last 14 games. They went 3-1 on this four-game road trip and reached the midpoint of the 82-game schedule on a strong note. The Blues lost 5-4 in Montreal on Saturday.
“It was a great response," Greiss said.
Wild goalie Filip Gustavsson, who had 21 saves, did more than enough to keep his team competitive through two sluggish periods. The Wild lost for the first time in eight games this season against an opponent on the second half of a back-to-back set of games.
“The third period is more like how we used to play on nights where we win the game," Gustavsson said. "Just need to try and find a way to do it in the first and second period, too.”
The Wild played without primary goalie Marc-Andre Fleury because of a personal matter. Fleury took the 6-5 overtime loss in Buffalo on Saturday. Gustavsson's status was in question, too, after an illness forced him out of the net in the final minutes of the 5-1 win over Tampa Bay on Thursday.
When Mason Shaw's high stick drew blood on Steven Santini, the Blues were awarded a 4-minute power play. They cashed in less than halfway through the man advantage.
“That always gives you a little bit of a boost and confidence. That might not have been our best lineup, but Greisser had a hell of a night,” Saad said. “I think we just capitalized on our chances when we got them.”
The Blues have a power-play goal in nine of their last 11 games.
Greiss was at his best in the final minute of the first period, when he kicked aside a snapshot by Matt Boldy off the rush and seconds later came out of the crease to deny Kaprizov.
“We can obviously still clean up some things, but we’re getting great goaltending right now and guys are stepping up and playing hard and playing together as a team and really buckling down. And that’s what you need when you have guys out of the lineup,” Schenn said.
The game got worse for the Wild before it got better. Ryan Hartman and Joel Eriksson Ek both left with injuries in the second period, leaving the team with only nine forwards for several shifts. Both Hartman and Eriksson Ek returned for the third period.
“You've got to grind through that,” Wild coach Dean Evason said. “We have to find ways to win when we don’t have our perfect setup.”