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Historic Kaprizov hat trick leads Wild past Blues in Stanley Cup playoffs

May 5 (UPI) -- Left wing Kirill Kaprizov netted the first postseason hat trick in franchise history to lead the Minnesota Wild to a dominant win over the St. Louis Blues in Game 2 of their Stanley Cup playoffs series.

The 2020-21 Rookie of the Year scored once in the first period and twice in the third of the 6-2 blowout Wednesday at Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minn. Wild center Joe Eriksson Ek also logged two goals and an assist in the victory.

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"We got together with the coaching staff and worked on a few things, just some small tweaks," Kaprizov told reporters. "It was the little things we kind of changed around.

"Last game, things weren't going our way. This game, they did."

Eriksson Ek lit the lamp 9:33 into the first to spark a run of four unanswered scores to start the game. Fellow center Frederick Gaudreau scored on a power play 13:04 into the first period. Kaprizov scored his first goal about six minutes later.

Eriksson Ek gave the Wild a 4-0 lead when he netted his second score just 51 seconds into the second.

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Blues center Jordan Kyrou cut into the deficit with a score 12:34 into the bridge period. Right wing Vladimir Tarasenko added another Blues goal 4:14 into the third.

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Kaprizov then finished off the Blues with two scores over the final 8:13.

His second score of the night came in transition. Right wing Mats Zuccarello received a pass on the right flank amid the breakaway. He skated forward and laced a pass between two defenders to Kaprizov. The Wild winger received the feed between the circles and ripped a wrist shot past Blues net minder Ville Husso for a 5-2 lead.

He added the final goal of the night about 65 seconds later. Right wing Ryan Hartman and defenseman Jonas Brodin assisted that empty-net score.

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Brodin took control of the puck deep in Wild territory and cleared it out to Hartman. The Wild forward quickly smacked a shot up the ice to Kaprizov, who stood on the right flank near the blue line.

Kaprizov took control and skated toward the Blues blue line. He then sliced a deep backhander between the pipes to sound the horn and complete his historic hat trick.

Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury totaled 32 saves in the win. Husso logged 22 saves for the Blues. Tarasenko totaled one goal and one assist in the loss. Center Robert Thomas logged two assists for the Blues.

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The Blues host the Wild in Game 3 of the best-of-seven game series at 9:30 p.m. EDT Friday at Enterprise Center in St. Louis.

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