MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUNDUP: Oshie's hat trick helps Blues rout Minnesota
St. Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - T.J. Oshie's first career hat trick highlighted the St. Louis Blues' latest victory, a 5-1 drubbing of the slumping Minnesota Wild at Scottrade Center.
Jaden Schwartz and Brenden Morrow also tallied for the current Western Conference leaders, who improved to 11-2-1 since acquiring goaltender Ryan Miller from Buffalo on Feb. 28.
"We're really focusing on playing team hockey right now and it's showing with the results we've had," said Oshie. "Three of them happened to come from my stick, but the next game it will be someone else."
Miller did his part as well in this one, taking a shutout bid into the final nine minutes and turning aside 27 of the 28 shots he faced.
Counterpart Darcy Kuemper wasn't as effective, coming up with just 19 saves as the Wild lost for the ninth time in 12 games. Minnesota's lead over Phoenix for the top wild-card spot in the West also shrunk to one point after the Coyotes downed New Jersey on Thursday.
Zach Parise accounted for the lone Wild goal in Minnesota's ninth consecutive setback to the Blues.
"That's a team we could face in the first round and we wanted to make it tough on them," said Parise. "I don't think we did that, at all, tonight."
Oshie's first two goals came during the opening period, with the initial one -- a well-placed wrister into the upper right corner of the Wild net after he corralled a loose puck -- giving St. Louis a quick 1-0 edge 4:43 in.
A double-minor penalty to Kevin Shattenkirk late in the first gave Minnesota an extended power play, but the Wild instead fell behind further while on the man advantage. Oshie intercepted a pass from Jared Spurgeon in the neutral zone, starting a shorthanded breakaway that he finished by blasting the puck past Kuemper 26 seconds before the intermission.
The Blues did cash in on a power-play opportunity to extend the margin in the second period, with Schwartz beating Kuemper to the stick side with Morrow setting a screen for a 3-0 cushion.
Oshie completed the hat trick with 7:18 elapsed in the third period, successfully redirecting a blast from the point from Jay Bouwmeester to make it a 4-0 game.
Just under 3 1/2 minutes later, Morrow chipped in a rebound of Alex Steen's initial attempt with the Blues on another power play.
Parise produced Minnesota's lone highlight of the night by finishing a transition rush with Charlie Coyle with 8:49 remaining.