The St Louis Blues on Saturday 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-21°C at Target Field, home to the MLB’s Minnesota Twins.
Photo: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY
“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 minus-18°C.
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 put 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 past 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 minutes, 38 seconds 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.
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.
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