Ty Rattie scored two goals as the St. Louis Blues’ AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves, avoided elimination in their first-round playoff series.
The bad news for the St. Louis Blues: they’ll begin their second-round playoff series against the Nashville Predators on Wednesday night with less-than-optimal depth, most notably on the blueline, where they’re lacking a spare defenseman with NHL experience.
The good news: their prospects have at least 60 more minutes this season to make a positive impression, and any current minor-leaguers who the Blues might need to utilize over the remainder of the postseason are guaranteed to be in game shape for at least a few days longer.
The Blues’ AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves, won 5-1 in Game 4 of their five-game first-round playoff series with the Charlotte Checkers on Tuesday night, sending the series to a winner-takes-all Game 5.
20-year-old forward Samuel Blais, who’s been quite impressive for the Wolves during his first professional season, got the Blues on the board in the first period, tying the game at 1-1 after Charlotte’s Lucas Hallmark scored the first goal of the game.
With plenty of pressure building up as the third period started, two of the Blues’ top defensive prospects provided some comfort during the early part of the period. Jake Walman, who signed a contract with the Blues near the end of the season after wrapping up his collegiate career at Providence, broke the tie at 1:58 in the third period with a quick wrister.
Top defensive prospect Jordan Schmaltz, who’s shuttled between the NHL and AHL in recent weeks, made an extremely impressive play at 3:54 in the third to put the Wolves up 3-1:
The man who ultimately did the most to pad the Wolves’ lead was Ty Rattie, who spent time with the Blues earlier this season and during the previous three campaigns before a quick stint with the Carolina Hurricanes. Rattie scored an empty-netter with just over two minutes left, then netted a power-play goal with just 57 seconds left. He earned the game’s first star honors for his accomplishments.
22-year-old goaltender Ville Husso also had a great game, stopping 26 of 27 Charlotte shots. The Finnish netminder has been spectacular during his first postseason in North America, posting a 2.42 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage over four games.