Kyrou keeps Blues warm with 2 goals in 6-4 win vs Wild

Jan 1, 2022, 5:22 AM | Updated: 8:51 pm
Minnesota Wild left wing Kirill Kaprizov (97) and defenseman Matt Dumba (24) skate off the ice as S...

Minnesota Wild left wing Kirill Kaprizov (97) and defenseman Matt Dumba (24) skate off the ice as St. Louis Blues players celebrate during the third period of the NHL Winter Classic hockey game Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022, in Minneapolis. (Colter Peterson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

(Colter Peterson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The St. Louis Blues boarded their bus to the game in a humorous ensemble of shorts, Hawaiian shirts and flip-flops, lightening the mood before the coldest outdoor game in NHL history.

Jordan Kyrou and his linemates made the Winter Classic look like a day at the beach.

Kyrou had two goals and two assists in a five-goal second period, and the Blues cruised to a 6-4 win over the Minnesota Wild with a faceoff temperature of minus-5.7 degrees on Saturday night.

“It’s a nice little trick. I definitely was fully awake,” said Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly, who helped orchestrate the dress code in the player group chat.

This was the first of 33 outdoor games the league has played with a temperature below zero. The Blues got serious once they hit the ice, filling their water bottles with chicken broth and tucking hand warmers in their pads to help against the cold.

“It was important to have energy and emotion in the game,” coach Craig Berube said. “When you’re playing in that kind of extreme weather, you’ve got to dig in.”

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.

“It was a crazy show, and I think it’s something we’ll always remember,” Binnington said.

Kirill Kaprizov had a goal and two assists for the Wild, who trailed 6-2 at the second intermission and pulled goalie Cam Talbot after 22 saves in two periods in favor of Kaapo Kahkonen. Talbot had a lower-body injury, coach Dean Evason said.

Rem Pitlick, Ryan Hartman 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, but they were in too big of a hole.

“It’s cold for both teams. The ice is bouncy for both teams. They just outplayed us for 40 minutes, easy. We didn’t play smart hockey like we’ve been doing most of the time this year,” right wing Mats Zuccarello said.

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.

“They’re a team that likes to make plays, and obviously the ice is not the best. We kind of tried to capitalize on their mistakes, and that’s how we got our chances,” Kyrou said.

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.

“It’s hard to reflect now, obviously, but I think once we look back on it it’ll be an exciting experience,” Evason said. “Just ended a little bit bitter, that’s all.”

The Blues were 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 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 also considered lumberjack outfits for their arrival wear, which Binnington had already purchased 30 shirts for, but the beach look won out. Defenseman Marco Scandella even carried a cooler in one hand with a cup of coffee in the other, his white shirt fully unbuttoned.

“We just figured when we’re 50 years old looking back, do we want to see us getting off the bus in a suit or something funny like that?” Binnington said.

KILLING IT

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 off that penalty and three more, and they’ve allowed only one goal in their last 24 penalty kills since Dec. 4.

TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME

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.

UP NEXT

The Blues play at Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

The Wild play at Boston on Thursday.

___

More AP NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) and Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) battle for t...
Associated Press

LeBron in Vegas? He makes an expansion pitch to Adam Silver

LAS VEGAS (AP) — LeBron James came to Las Vegas for a preseason game. And a pitch. James, who has spoken in the past about wanting to eventually own an NBA franchise — with Las Vegas on his mind — sent a crystal-clear message to Commissioner Adam Silver on Wednesday night, reminding him of his […]
24 hours ago
FILE - Dallas Stars' Jason Robertson skates during the third period of an NHL hockey game against t...
Associated Press

Stars sign 41-goal scorer Robertson to $31M, 4-year deal

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Jason Robertson has signed a $31 million, four-year contract with the Dallas Stars after the young 40-goal scorer missed the first two weeks of training camp. The Stars announced the deal late Wednesday night, after their exhibition game in Denver, only a week before the regular season opener Oct. 13 at […]
24 hours ago
The ski slopes are almost devoid of snow at the Tūroa ski field, on Mt. Ruapehu, New Zealand on Se...
Associated Press

Missing snow puts famed New Zealand ski areas on precipice

TUROA SKI AREA, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand’s Turoa ski area is usually a white wonderland at this time of year, its deep snowpack supporting its famed spring skiing. This season, it’s largely a barren moonscape, with tiny patches of snow poking out between vast fields of jagged volcanic boulders. The ski area was […]
24 hours ago
FILE - Kansas City Royals pitching coach Cal Eldred in the seventh inning of a baseball game, May 1...
Associated Press

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians. The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, […]
24 hours ago
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) blocks a shot by Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges (25...
Associated Press

James scores 23 points, but not enough as Suns defeat Lakers

LAS VEGAS (AP) — LeBron James flashed his midseason form Wednesday night, scoring 23 points in 18 minutes before the Phoenix Suns beat the Los Angeles Lakers 112-115. James, who missed all seven of his shots in Los Angeles’ loss to Sacramento on Monday, was much more aggressive with the Lakers playing without Anthony Davis. […]
24 hours ago
Central Florida coach Gus Malzahn, left, and SMU coach Rhett Lashlee talk before an NCAA college fo...
Associated Press

UCF scores 31 unanswered points, beats SMU in AAC opener

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — John Rhys Plumlee threw for 316 yards and two touchdowns, both coming in the second half to Ryan O’Keefe, and UCF scored 31 unanswered points to beat SMU 41-19 on Wednesday night in a game postponed because of tropical weather. UCF trailed 13-10 at halftime before scoring four touchdowns in the […]
24 hours ago
Kyrou keeps Blues warm with 2 goals in 6-4 win vs Wild