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Boudreau calls hit in final seconds on Parise 'cheap'

Minnesota Wild left wing Zach Parise (11) is checked by St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (27) during the third period in game four of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scottrade Center on Wednesday. The Wild won 2-0. Jeff Curry / USA TODAY Sports

As the final seconds ticked away in Game 4 on Wednesday night at Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo rolled in and tried to send a message by laying out Wild winger Zach Parise.

Wild coach Bruce Boudreau wasn't a fan, especially considering the outcome was already decided, a 2-0 Wild victory to stave off elimination.

"I thought it was cheap," Boudreau said. "It was cheap. They knew the game was over. There was one second left. If this was 1984 or 1978, that guy would've had a stick right in his face, you know? They don't do that anymore."

That last-second hit on Parise capped a very physical game in which the Blues' fourth line — Kyle Brodziak centering Scottie Upshall and Ryan Reaves — tried its best to antagonize Wild players, as it has throughout the best-of-seven series.

"They know what their job is," Parise said last week. "They don't try to make plays. They just chip it in, chase, hit the (defensemen) and get stuff off the cycle. They know their role. They know their job. They know what they're supposed to do."

Parise has two goals and an assist as the Wild still trail the Blues 3-1 in the best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinal series. Game 5 is Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center.

Killing it

After scoring the first goal in Game 4 to take their first lead of the series, the Wild faced a make-or-break moment when Parise was called for a slash 18 seconds later.

That gave the Blues a power play with a chance to tie the score, and the Wild penalty kill proved to be up to the task to preserve the lead.

Ryan White was called for a slash early in the third period, and the Wild killed that penalty, too.

Through four games, the Wild penalty kill is 10 for 11; the only power-play goal allowed was the Game 3 winner.

"I think you get more lift from a good penalty kill than you do a power-play goal," Boudreau said. "It's tough to do with the talent that's in this league. So when you do (kill a penalty), and you get them consistently, I think it's a really uplifting thing for the team."

Haula back?

Erik Haula missed Game 4 with an undisclosed injury, though with two days between games, there's a chance he could play in Game 5.

When asked whether Haula would be ready for Friday's practice, Boudreau said only, "I'm hoping he's available."

Although he doesn't have a point this postseason, Haula has 23 career playoff games under his belt, providing more experience than rookie Joel Eriksson Ek, who filled in during Game 4.

The Pioneer Press is a Forum News Service media partner.