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Tribune News Service

Wild's Fiala-Gaudreau-Boldy line: 'We've gotta find a way to be better'

The Wild has already shown how it stacks up against the Blues when it has two forward lines creating the bulk of its offense.

That's how the team arrived at a 2-2 split in the best-of-seven playoff series.

But what happens if Kevin Fiala, Frederick Gaudreau and Matt Boldy get more involved?

Maybe that sparks the Wild to separate from St. Louis in this first-round matchup, an edge up for grabs in Game 5 on Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center.

"We definitely know that we can help our other guys out a little bit more," Boldy said. "We have other guys scoring goals. Obviously, it's not always going to be perfect or go your way. But we've gotta find a way to be better."

Until Boldy capitalized in the third period of Game 4 on Sunday for the first time in his postseason career, his line with Fiala and Gaudreau had gone goalless against the Blues.

(Gaudreau did convert in Game 2, but it was on the power play and during a setup that didn't feature Fiala).

Overall, the trio has totaled three points, with Fiala picking up an assist on Boldy's tally. Not only does that production trail the contributions from the Kirill Kaprizov, Ryan Hartman and Mats Zuccarello group (14 points) and the Jordan Greenway, Joel Eriksson Ek and Marcus Foligno combo (nine), but the line has also been on the ice for the fewest scoring chances at 5-on-5 among the three according to Natural Stat Trick.

And almost half of those looks came in Game 4 when Fiala, Gaudreau and Boldy had their best display of the series in that third period before the Wild's comeback nosedived into a 5-2 loss to the Blues.

"We're hoping that that third period with their line in particular will give them a boost for Game 5," coach Dean Evason said.

Just a few weeks ago, Fiala was one of the most dangerous players in the NHL and this line a juggernaut for the Wild.

From April 8 to the end of the regular season, Fiala racked up the second-most goals (10) and points in the league while finishing with new highs in goals (33), assists (52) and points (85). Boldy's 0.83 points-per-game clip was tops among rookies who played at least as many games as he did, and Gaudreau also had a career year.

This impact, however, hasn't spilled over into the playoffs.

"They play pretty tight," said Fiala, who acknowledged the frustration he feels. "Not a lot of space out there."

Perhaps the goal they chipped in on Sunday can serve as inspiration.

After Fiala threw the puck toward the net, Wild defenseman Jake Middleton scooped up the rebound and sent it back to the crease where a scramble ensued until Boldy poked in the puck.

"They gotta play the way we want to play," Evason said. "They've got away from it a little bit. They're a little perimeter, little bit not getting to the inside. This time of year, it's not the tic-tac-toe stuff. It's more of the straightforward stuff, and that's how our hockey club plays and that's what they have to push themselves to do.

"We'll have a chat with them."

Having two lines generate the majority of its scoring hasn't derailed the Wild.

What it has done is prevent the team from revealing its potential, and it may need that to outlast the Blues.

"If it's going or not, it's a new game," Fiala said. "We're going to do everything we can to just refocus and clear the mind and forget this game and take the positive with us. New game. New chances."