I picked against the Wild in Game 4 of this Western Conference semifinal and proved to be wrong.
I thought the Chicago Blackhawks would crank their game up a notch and put the Wild in a deep hole. That obviously didn't happen because the Wild responded with perhaps its best game of the postseason.
Tonight, the Wild faces its third elimination game of the playoffs in Game 6. The guess here is that the Wild remains perfect at home and forces a Game 7 in Chicago on Thursday night.
This has been a weird series in terms of its ebbs and flows. We really haven't seen the usual hatred and rough stuff normally found in a long, close series. These two teams have simply taken turns as the dominant team.
The Blackhawks assumed that role in Game 5 after a poor first period. The defending champions were booed off the ice and then took control in the second and third period to take a 3-2 series lead.
I'll pick the Wild tonight because they've been such a different team at home and they seem to thrive in these desperation situations.
The raucous crowd at Xcel Energy Center will likely play a meaningful role, too. The atmosphere inside the arena has been loud and intense throughout these playoffs and there's no question that has helped the Wild, which has outscored its opponents 16-5 in home games.
Neither team has lost at home in the playoffs and I think that trend continues tonight,