NHL Winter Classic: Jordan Kyrou’s big night lifts Blues over Wild
Jordan Kyrou collected two goals and two assists in the second period alone to lead the visiting St. Louis Blues to a 6-4 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday at the Winter Classic before 38,619 at Target Field in frigid Minneapolis.
Kyrou is the first player in league history to record four points in an outdoor game. Ivan Barbashev collected one goal and one assist, while David Perron, Vladimir Tarasenko and Torey Krug also scored for the Blues, who are on a 7-1-1 roll.
Jordan Binnington made 29 saves in the chilly outdoor game that had a temperature of -5.7 degrees Fahrenheit at puck drop.
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NHL Winter Classic
Kirill Kaprizov had a goal and two assists while Rem Pitlick, Ryan Hartman and Kevin Fiala also scored for the struggling Wild, who have lost five straight games. Goalie Cam Talbot stopped 22 shots through two periods before being replaced by Kaapo Kahkonen for the third period. He stopped all four shots he faced.
“It wasn’t precautionary,” Wild coach Dean Evason said. “We wouldn’t have taken him out of that hockey game. He’s a battler. He’s a competitive guy. We don’t take him out of that game because he’s still going to give us a chance to come back.”
Minnesota, already without key players in Jared Spurgeon and Joel Eriksson Ek due to injuries, played without top defenseman Jonas Brodin.
Perron, who arrived for the game donning a t-shirt and swim trunks, buried a rebound to open the scoring with 5:31 remaining in the opening frame.
Kaprizov replied 25 seconds later with a lucky goal following a great effort, as he sent the puck to the front of the net and it banked off Blues defender Niko Mikkola and into the net to run his goal streak to three games.
Jordan Kyrou’s big night
Then came the Kyrou show. Kyrou restored the St. Louis lead 27 seconds into the second period when his centering pass banked home off Hartman.
Tarasenko doubled the St. Louis lead before the midway point by blasting a one-timer from the right faceoff dot on a play set up by Kyrou.
“It’s unbelievable,” Kyrou said. “Any time you get to play in the Winter Classic, it’s pretty cool. Growing up as a kid, it’s something you always watch and dream of playing in.”
Barbashev’s rebound power-play goal with 5:14 remaining in the middle frame extended the lead, and then Kyrou potted his second of the game with 2:02 left in the period to make it a 5-1 affair.
Pitlick answered for the Wild 40 seconds later, but Krug restored the four-goal edge 41 seconds after that by firing a shot from the point.
Hartman’s goal at 8:40 of the third period closed the gap, and then Fiala brought the hosts within a pair by burying a shot from the high slot with 5:38 left on the clock, but Minnesota could not pull any closer.
“I’ve watched a couple of these games and a couple interviews after, and everyone always says how much work goes into it,” Binnington said via NHL.com. “Being a part of it, I can really say it’s incredible just from the ice crew to make this all possible.”
–Field Level Media