ST. LOUIS – Devan Dubnyk had a strong bounce-back effort in goal and the Minnesota Wild beat the St. Louis Blues 4-1 on Friday night to take a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference first-round series.
After allowing six goals in two periods in a 6-1 loss in Game 4, Dubnyk but made 36 saves in Game 5 and twice robbed Alexander Steen from close range in the second period.
The Wild scored four straight goals after Vladimir Tarasenko gave St. Louis the early edge with his playoff-leading sixth goal, including Minnesota's fourth power-play tally of the series.
Nino Niederreiter scored the go-ahead goal in the second period, and Marco Scandella, Mikko Koivo and Charlie Coyle also scored for Minnesota. The Wild can wrap up the series at home in Game 6 on Sunday.
The Central Division champion Blues will be trying to avoid their third straight first-round elimination and bring the series back home for Game 7 on Wednesday night.
Rookie Blues goalie Jake Allen surrendered more than two goals for the first time in 12 starts, a streak dating to early March. Allen has started throughout the series ahead of veteran Brian Elliott and entered with a 1.51 goals-against average in the series, but gave up three goals on the first 12 shots.
Scandella's tying goal in the first period was a big momentum shifter. The Blues had an 8-0 shots bulge before the defenseman unwound from the top of the left circle and the puck popped in and out of Allen's glove.
The teams have alternated wins — all decided by more than one goal — since Minnesota opened with a 4-2 victory in St. Louis with the last two goals empty-netters. For the third straight season, the Blues dropped Game 5 at home in a series tied at 2.
Niederreiter's second goal of the series was a one-timer with 5:04 left in the second off a setup from Chris Stewart, who broke free from defenseman Zbynek Michalek in the corner.
Koivu made it 3-1 on a power play with 3:38 left in the second on a pass across the crease that deflected into the net off defenseman Jay Bouwmeester's skate. The Wild were 27th with the man advantage during the regular season.
Allen appeared to be screened on Coyle's first of the series on a wrist shot from the slot with 5:10 left in the third.
Steen zipped the puck across the crease and Tarasenko converted a one-timer for his 10th career playoff goal in just 12 games and his sixth goal this series in just nine shots. The Blues had four shots on the power play after Niederreiter was whistled for tripping with 6 seconds to go in a hooking penalty.
Notes: Blues F Jori Lehtera was the lone significant scratch with a lower-body injury from absorbing a shot by Bouwmeester in the third period of Game 4. Lehtera has two assists in the series, playing alongside top scorer Tarasenko, and is a key member of the power play. ... The Wild made one lineup tweak, inserting forward Matt Cooke and scratching Sean Bergenheim. ... Allen last gave up more than two goals on March 1, when he surrendered four before getting yanked in a 6-5 shootout loss at Vancouver.