ST. LOUIS (AP)—Skating four-on-four in overtime is supposed to make it easier to score. Not when the Minnesota Wild are playing.
Doug Weight scored on a power play with 1:37 remaining in regulation to give the St. Louis Blues a 2-2 tie on Saturday night, the Wild’s NHL-leading 14th tie of the season. It also extended the Wild’s overtime unbeaten streak to 24 games.
“I guess we’re trying to get a tie,” coach Jacques Lemaire said, laughing. “No, we don’t do anything different.
“We’re trying to score a goal. Only our offensive players are out there at that time. There’s no checkers out there.”
Weight’s 10th goal answered a power-play goal by Minnesota’s Nick Schultz with 3:31 left.
The Blues pulled goalie Chris Osgood with 2:15 to go for a six-on-four advantage with Filip Kuba off for tripping. Weight, ending a nine-game goal drought, backhanded Pavol Demitra’s shot from the point past Manny Fernandez to send the game to overtime.
The teams have tied twice in the last two weeks, playing to a 1-1 deadlock on Jan. 5 in St. Louis. That’s a common occurrence for the Wild, the only team in the league without an overtime decision. Since overtime was reinstated in 1983, the record for consecutive overtime games ending in a tie in a season is 15 by the 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings.
The Wild’s last overtime loss was Dec. 3, 2002, in a 2-1 setback to the Oilers.
“They didn’t really try to make too many plays, they were just getting it out and trying to kill time,” Blues defenseman Chris Pronger said. “They’re just waiting for us to make a mistake.
“If they don’t get that, they’re probably not going to muster much.”
Pierre-Marc Bouchard also scored for the Wild, who earned the tie despite being outshot 34-17 and going 1-for-6 with the man advantage. A strong game from Fernandez, who stopped Keith Tkachuk on a breakaway with 1:23 to go in overtime, offset those deficiencies.
Tkachuk’s chance was a rare breakdown for the Wild.
“I’ve had liked to see (Tkachuk) score on that breakaway in overtime,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We stayed with it and played the way we had to play.”
Chris Osgood of the Blues wasn’t tested as often. But he also stopped a breakaway in overtime, thwarting Alexander Daigle with 42 seconds to go, and Daigle had a good chance early in the extra period.
“We’d like to win in one of these overtimes,” Daigle said. “We’ll keep trying.”
Minnesota had a strong game despite playing on consecutive nights, beating Pittsburgh 4-2 Friday on four third-period goals in a franchise-record 5:20. The Wild are 2-3-8 in their last 13 games.
Scott Mellanby also scored for the Blues, who are in a 4-7-4 slump. St. Louis is 2-0-2 in its last four against the Wild.
Blues players see signs that their midseason slump is ending.
“We believe in ourselves, and we’re going to try to get out of this together,” Weight said. “Every team goes through this. It’s not because guys don’t care.”
Bouchard and Andrew Brunette worked a give-and-go to give the Wild the lead. Bouchard had an empty net for the return pass, getting his third goal at 3:21 of the second period.
The Blues had a 13-6 advantage in shots in the second and tied it at 14:16 on Mellanby’s rebound shot. Mellanby tapped in a backhander after Fernandezstopped Tkachuk’s one-timer.
The Wild became the last team in the NHL with a double-digit goal scorer when Daigle got his 10th on Friday, ending a 14-game drought. … Seven of Mellanby’s last eight points have come on goals. He has six assists all season. … The Blues reassigned D Aris Brimanis to Worcester (AHL) so he can play in Sunday night’s game against Albany. Brimanis, called up earlierSaturday, was minus-1 in 15 minutes, 39 seconds.