Blues defeat Wild 6-4 in 2022 Winter Classic, coldest game in NHL history
MINNEAPOLIS (KY3) - Jordan Kyrou had two goals and two assists in a five-goal second period for St. Louis, and the Blues cruised through the coldest outdoor game in NHL history to beat the host Minnesota Wild 6-4 in the Winter Classic on Saturday night.
The official faceoff temperature was minus-5.7 degrees, the first of 33 outdoor games the league has played with a temperature below zero.
David Perron got the Blues on the board in the first period. Vladimir Tarasenko, Ivan Barbashev and Torey Krug joined Kyrou by scoring in the second, and Robert Thomas pitched in with two assists. Jordan Binnington made 29 saves for the Blues, who are 11-1-2 in their last 14 games against the rival Wild.
Kirill Kaprizov had a goal and two assists and Ryan Hartman had a goal and an assist for the Wild, who trailed 6-2 at the second intermission and benched goalie Cam Talbot after 22 saves in two periods in favor of Kaapo Kahkonen.
Rem Pitlick and Kevin Fiala also scored for the Wild, who pulled within 6-4 on Fiala’s 6-on-5 goal with 5:38 remaining after Kahkonen was pulled for the extra skater.
Talbot, who posted an outdoor shutout for Edmonton in the Heritage Classic in 2016, wore a forest green stocking cap on top of his mask to match Minnesota’s jerseys. He didn’t have much help. The Wild were missing their two best defensemen, captain Jared Spurgeon (lower-body injury) and Jonas Brodin (COVID-19 protocols), and allowed 14 shots on goal in each of the first two periods.
Due to virus outbreaks on other teams, the Wild had four games postponed over the last three weeks and had not played in 12 days. They have allowed 22 goals in their last four games.
The Blues were naturally the sharper team, having beaten Edmonton 4-2 on Wednesday behind a goal and two assists from Kyrou in his return from a four-game absence due to an upper-body injury.
Perron deposited a rebound past Talbot’s blocker with 5:31 left in the first period after Ryan O’Reilly’s shot deflected off Wild defenseman Jon Merrill’s skate.
Kaprizov tied the game 25 seconds later by banking the puck off Blues defenseman Niko Mikkola’s skate, but Kyrou put St. Louis in front for good 27 seconds into the second period on yet another bad-bounce goal that glanced off Hartman. Kyrou’s four points are the most in 13 editions of the Winter Classic, the main outdoor event the NHL made for TV on New Year’s Day.
Pitlick added to the highlight reel with his behind-the-net shot that clinked off the side of Binnington’s mask to cut the lead to 5-2 late in the second period.
DRESSED FOR SUCCESS
The Blues left their hotel looking as though they were off to the beach, with players walking to their bus in shorts, Hawaiian shirts and flip-flops. Defenseman Marco Scandella carried a cooler in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other, with a white shirt fully unbuttoned.
The conditions for the top two teams in the Central Division were cruelly cold, though the novelty of playing in the event after a year delay by the pandemic surely helped block out the brisk air. Wild defenseman Calen Addison was shown at one stoppage getting heating lotion applied to his frostbitten ears.
The Wild had played outdoors once before, in a Stadium Series game in 2016 at the University of Minnesota’s football stadium. The Blues won the Winter Classic in 2017 at Busch Stadium, the home of Major League Baseball’s St. Louis Cardinals.
This was the 11th time in the 33 outdoor games — and seventh time in the 13 Winter Classics — that the NHL played at a baseball venue. The announced attendance was a sellout of 38,619.
Binnington was called for tripping in the first period and has 14 penalty minutes this season, the most in the league for any goalie. The Blues killed that penalty and three more, and they’ve allowed only one goal in their last 24 penalty kills since Dec. 4.
The Blues play at Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
The Wild play at Boston on Thursday. Their game at Ottawa scheduled for Tuesday was pre-emptively postponed due to COVID-19.
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