ST. LOUIS (AP) — After getting his 400th career goal, Eric Staal wants to keep on going.
Staal got his milestone goal less than five minutes in to lead the Minnesota Wild to a 5-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night.
The veteran forward, who began his career in 2003 and skated in his 1,100th game on Oct. 19th, became just the 96th player in NHL history to reach 400 goals. He joined Alex Ovechkin, Patrick Marleau, Ilya Kovalchuk, Sidney Crosby, and Marian Gaborik as the only active players with the mark.2
“It feels good,” Staal said. “I hope there’s a lot more yet. I feel like I’m still a young guy. I got a lot more time to play this game. It’s a special game and I’m grateful every day I’m in, so I try to prove myself every day. It’s cool. I’m sure my kids will have something to say about it tomorrow, which is fun for me and hopefully, more ahead.”
Nick Seeler, J.T. Brown, Matt Dumba and Eric Fehr also scored for the Wild. Devan Dubnyk stopped 15 shots.
Ryan O’Reilly scored for St. Louis, and Jake Allen finished with 40 saves.
Staal opened the scoring at 4:42 of the first period with his fifth of the season.
“It was a heck of tip,” said Seeler, who assisted on Staal’s goal. “Not a lot of guys can make that play. It was a really nice tip. I just tried to get it kind of by him and let him do the rest.”
Just 5 seconds later, Seeler got the first of his career as he beat Allen with a slap shot from the left circle to make it 2-0. He also had two assists on the night for the first three point game of his career.
“It’s nice to have that first one go in,” Seeler said. “It was exciting and I’ve just tried to get more pucks to the net and create more offense. We’ve played so well as a team tonight. It was a great team win. It was fun.”
The Blues cut the lead in half as O’Reilly flipped the puck stick side past Dubnyk on the power play at 11:32. O’Reilly has now scored at least one point in seven consecutive games. The Blues lead the NHL with 15 power play goals.
The Wild restored their two-goal lead with 1:51 left in the first when Brown broke away on a turnover from Jay Bouwmeester and blasted it over Allen’s left shoulder for Minnesota’s first unassisted goal and his first of the season.
“I’m a firm believer that balance wins,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. “When it’s difficult to check all four lines and six D, it makes it really hard to play against or match up against a team.”
The lone score of the second period came with 4 1/2 minutes left when Brayden Schenn lost the puck in the neutral zone and Mikael Granlund passed it ahead to defenseman Dumba for his fourth. St. Louis challenged the play for offsides, but video replay upheld the initial call. Granlund now has a point in 10 straight games.
Schenn was not on the bench and did not play in the third period. Yeo said Schenn was “sore.”
Fehr scored his second of the season at 9:15 of the third to cap the scoring.
“I just thought the balance was really good but they gave us energy when we needed it,” Boudreau said. “The Eric Fehr goal at the end of the period, because they were starting to come on a little bit and that sort of finished that. Those are the kind of shifts that you really need and they came up big.”
“Sometimes you lose and sometimes you get beat and we got beat all over the ice tonight,” Blues head coach Mike Yeo said. “The only thing that’s a little bit disturbing is that for a division game and playing at home, we didn’t really seem to really get any response tonight. That was disappointing.”
NOTES: The Blues recorded only five shots on goal in the first period and four in the second as they were outshot 45-16 on the night. … Minnesota is in the midst of a franchise record seven-game road stretch. This game was the third of seven in a 14-day span that began Oct. 29. … The Wild improved to 3-3 on the road this season.
Wild: At San Jose on Tuesday night.
Blues: Host Carolina on Tuesday night.