The Wild improved the power play and penalty kill, cleaning up the messes from the dud two nights earlier, and that helped the team solve the biggest problem of them all.
For the first time in a year and after six consecutive losses, the Wild finally defeated the Blues – and it wasn't close.
This was a 6-2 blowout on Wednesday in front of 19,376 at Xcel Energy Center to even the best-of-seven, first-round series at 1-1 ahead of Game 3 on Friday in St. Louis.
"It's for sure helping to build confidence," Joel Eriksson Ek said, "knowing you can take the lead and run with it."
Kirill Kaprizov scored the Wild's first postseason hat trick while Eriksson Ek had two goals and Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside 32 shots to pick up his first playoff victory with the Wild and 91st of his career.
Fleury is one away from tying Grant Fuhr for the third most all-time in the NHL.
"Fun game to play," he said, "and hopefully we have many more of those."
Historically, Game 2s haven't been the best for the Wild.
Before this, the team was only 1-2 at home and 2-12 overall. But the Wild was coming off a 4-0 letdown in Game 1 in which the Blues snagged home-ice advantage, and the stage was set for a response.
The Wild delivered that on its first shot, capitalizing off a one-timer from Eriksson Ek at 9 minutes, 33 seconds put in motion by Jordan Greenway, who scooped up the puck after St. Louis' Robert Bortuzzo snapped his stick.
"The whole bench jumped," Fleury said. "Maybe a little relieved to get the first goal, to get a goal. It felt good to get the fans on their feet, and the building was loud. From that point on, we didn't look back."
Then during its first power play, the Wild rebounded from a costly 0-for-6 showing on Monday when Frederick Gaudreau whacked in a rebound at 13:04.
For an encore, the power play converted again with 54 seconds left in the period after Kaprizov's shot hit the post and then Blues goalie Ville Husso before rolling into the net. Husso totaled 22 saves.
Overall, the Wild went 2-for-3 on the power play; Eriksson Ek's second goal came at even strength only 51 seconds into the second when he stole the puck in front of the St. Louis net and slid it around Husso.
But this offense wasn't the only sign of progress for the Wild.
After getting scored on twice and giving up another soon after a power play expired on Monday, the penalty kill was more effective while surrendering just one goal in five opportunities.
That finish came 12:34 into the second when Jordan Kyrou flipped the puck in from behind the goal line.
Before then, the Wild snuffed out three chances with Fleury making key blocks against Brandon Saad, Vladimir Tarasenko and David Perron.
"I liked our commitment in that area," coach Dean Evason said. "We blocked a lot of shots. We talked about those rebound clears where there was nobody around to get that puck. There were people around to get that puck.
"[Fleury] made the first save, and we were able to find the puck and get it out of that dangerous area. Yeah, our special teams were key."
Again in the third, the PK was clutch with Fleury making another impressive save on Tarasenko.
The stop and strong defending by the Wild were timely because the Blues had momentum and had cut their deficit in half. At 4:14 of the period, Tarasenko flung in a shot off the rush.
But the Wild recalibrated to reclaim control, and leading the way was Kaprizov and Eriksson Ek.
Kaprizov redirected in a pass from Mats Zuccarello at 11:47, with the handoff Zuccarello's assist his second of the game, before dumping the puck into an empty net at 12:52 for his first career postseason hat trick. Kaprizov has six points in nine postseason games.
"We were able to score the goals when we needed to," Kaprizov said in Russian through a translator. "We all take the onus on ourselves to be better and focus on the next game."
Second earlier, Eriksson Ek also put his third puck into the net, but the hat trick was called back after St. Louis challenged the play and the goal was ruled off-side.
Still, Eriksson Ek and Kaprizov registered their first career multi goal and multi point performances in the playoffs.
"I don't care," Eriksson Ek said about losing the hat trick. "It's about winning. That's what we want to do."