Binnington makes 28 saves, Blues beat Wild to even series

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis goalie Jordan Binnington didn't lose any sleep when he was informed by coach Craig Berube that he would be starting for the first time this postseason on Sunday.

“He's always the same, he doesn't give me much of a reaction," Berube said.

Instead, Binnington let his play do the talking.

Binnington made 28 saves and the Blues beat the Minnesota Wild 5-2 on Sunday to even the best-of-seven Western Conference series at two games apiece.

Jordan Kyrou and David Perron each scored twice and Ryan O'Reilly added a goal and two assists. Perron also had an assist for St. Louis.

Kirill Kaprizov and Matt Boldy scored for Minnesota. Marc-Andre Fleury made 29 saves.

Game 5 is Tuesday night at St. Paul, Minnesota, before returning to St. Louis for Game 6 on Thursday.

Binnington, who had lost his previous nine postseason starts, picked up his first playoff win since beating Boston in Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final. He denied Kaprizov from point-blank range late in the second period. Binnington also stopped Mats Zuccarello on a 2-on-1 breakout midway through the final period.

“I felt prepared,” Binnington said. “I felt pretty good.”

Binnington had been supplanted by Ville Husso, who have up nine goals on 59 shots combined in Games 2 and 3 after shutting out the Wild with 37 saves in the opener.

“You have to be ready for whatever comes up,” Binnington said. “We just have to focus on our job, whatever it is that night.”

Coach Craig Berube said he went with Binnington as a hunch.

“We wanted to make a switch and just change the momentum and luck a little bit," Berube said.

Kyrou and Perron scored 54 seconds apart in the second period to break a 1-1 tie.,

Perron converted the go-ahead score on a shot that squeezed past Fleury towards the net. Minnesota forward Marcus Foligno tried to keep the puck from rolling across the line, but he flipped it off the back of Fleury and into the net.

Kyrou got his second of the game to push the lead to 3-1 with a shot off a pass from Ryan O’Reilly, who assisted on both second-period goals.

“Obviously, we wanted to come out hot, and come out strong,” Kyrou said. “We did that today and we should continue to do it all series long.”

Boldy cut the deficit to 3-2 by scoring off a scramble in from of the net 2:39 into the final period.

Perron added an empty net goal with 1:58 remaining, and O’Reilly had a power-play goal with 1 minute left to cap the scoring.

St. Louis struck first when Kyrou pounced on his own rebound just 4:19 into the game.

Kaprizov tied it 1-1 with his fifth goal of the series off a pass from Jared Spurgeon with 5:54 left in the opening period.

Kaprivoz, who recorded the first hat trick in postseason franchise history in Game 2, was wide open in the slot. His five goals ties him with Wes Walz and Marian Gaborik for most goals in a series. Walz and Gaborik each scored five times in the 2003 Western Conference semifinals against Vancouver.

“It's not one guy, it's the Minnesota Wild that didn't get to our game quick enough,” Minnesota coach Dean Evason said.. “In the third period we did. But it was a little too late.”

INJURIES

The Blues were without defensemen Torey Krug (lower body), Nick Leddy (upper) and Robert Bortuzzo (upper). They also lost Marco Scandella with an injury early in the first period. Scott Perunovich made his first appearance since Jan. 15. Rookie Steven Santini made his playoff debut.

IRON MEN

St. Louis D Justin Faulk (31 minutes, 10 seconds) and Colton Parayko (30:37) logged extra minutes after the injury to Scandella. No other Blues player passed the 20-minute mark

CONSISTENT SUCCESS

Minnesota and St. Louis are two of just four teams to have made the playoffs nine times in the last 10 seasons. Pittsburgh (10 times) and Washington (9) round out the list

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More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Steve Overbey, The Associated Press

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