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Souhan on Sports

Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene

Wild pregame: Fluctuations

Writing before Game 5 from the X:

What’s most interesting to me about playoff hockey is that the old saying about ``mistakes’’ turns out to be true.

And that players’ performances fluctuate dramatically from game to game.

Usually, when coaches say a game will be decided by mistakes, it sounds like coachspeak. But each game in this series has been decided by a mistake. And sometimes just one.

When Dubnyk has allowed a soft goal, the Blues have won. When Jake Allen has given up a soft goal, the Wild has won.

The other fascination thing about the playoffs, and the Wild in particular, has been the fluctuation of performances.

In Game 4, right after I Tweeted something about Jason Pominville’s poor performance in this series, he began playing as well as he has all year.

Same for Martin Hanzal. I have not been impressed with his game but he turned it on in Game 4 and his goal was perhaps the prettiest of this series.

Charlie Coyle was a problem early in the series and now has turned it on.

Who else needs to improve their play for the Wild to become the rare team to win a series after falling down 3-0? Mikael Granlund. He was one of the Wild's best players all season and he's been made invisible by the Blues' defense this series. The Wild need more from him.

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And apropos of nothing I’m sitting in the Wild’s media room, looking at a photo of Parise and Suter after they signed with the Wild. Man, they look young.

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At MNSPN.com you can find my podcast with Michael Russo, as well as Sports From Hell with Russo and LaVelle E. Neal, in which they make fun of me for having a doggie stroller. But I can explain!

Both shows were recorded at Hell’s Kitchen in downtown Minneapolis.

@Souhanstrib

Souhan: Parise shines in Wild's Game 4 victory

St. Louis -

Zach Parise is having a big series. In four games, he has two goals, one assist and a dozen plays in which he has put his health - and his battered face - in harm's way.

He even fought back when Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo smashed him in the third period. Parise usually doesn't talk much, but he had a lot to say as the series turned physical as well as competitive.

``It feels like a race to two,'' Parise said, noting that the losing team has scored zero or one goal in each game.

Parise has scabs on his nose and cheeks and he looks like he's searching for more. He has crashed the net and fought along the boards and while none of that is new, there have been times during this series where it felt like he wasn't getting much help in those areas.

Wednesday, he didn't produce a point but continued to lead the charge.

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Live show schedule for the Minnesota Sports Podcast Network: 4:45 Thursday at Hell's Kitchen with Michael Russo; 4:30 on Friday with LaVelle E. Neal and Russo at Hell's Kitchen. Show up, watch on HK's Facebook Live feed or hear the podcast later at MNSPN.com.

@Souhanstrib