For Wild, back home at the X is where the hope is

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 6, 2014 - 1:35 PM

 

Maybe it was the benefit of home matchups. Maybe it was the jolt players received from the electric home crowd. Or maybe it’s just that extra confidence most teams have playing at home.

Whatever the reason, the friendly confines of Xcel Energy Center proved to be the tonic that cured the first-round blues for the Wild.

If the Wild has any hope of getting back into its second-round playoff series with the Chicago Blackhawks after losing the first two games in Chicago, the X will have to deliver yet again.

“I don’t think we’re that far off,” coach Mike Yeo said Monday, a day off for most his players. “I don’t think that we’re quite there, but we’re not that far off. So hopefully a day’s rest and coming back home with a chance to get reset, refocused here and energized with our crowd … gets us jump-started here.”

Late last month, the Wild returned to St. Paul from Colorado down 2-0 in the best-of-seven quarterfinals. The Wild put forth two dominant efforts to draw even in the series. It then won a third home game before finally pulling off a captivating overtime road victory in Game 7.

Tuesday night, the Wild returns to the X in an identical position. For the first time since Nino Niederreiter’s Game 7 heroics, the Wild appears in front of the hometown fans down 2-0 to the Blackhawks.

“We’ve been here before,” right winger Charlie Coyle said. “Right now we just have to focus on the next one. That’s all we have to do. We said that last series, too, and we came out and got a win here.”

Last season, the Wild returned to St. Paul from Chicago also down 2-0 and won Game 3 in overtime on Jason Zucker’s goal. The Blackhawks have lost eight consecutive road games to open playoff series.

“It’s a loud building,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said of the X. “They play well at home. It’s a good hockey team. They play a tight game. They’re very stingy in their own building, so we’ve got to make sure to quiet the crowd as best we can early and try to weather that storm.”

A tough opponent

Last round, after beating the Avalanche in Game 3, the Wild called the game a must-win. It’s safe to say the Wild cannot afford to fall behind 3-0 to the defending Stanley Cup champions.

“I don’t see a lot of difference [from being down 2-0 last round],” defenseman Clayton Stoner said. “If we stay with our structure and pick our intensity up, make some better plays and finish our scoring chances, I feel like we can take the series over. There’s a lot of belief in this room after coming back against Colorado, and they’re a good team, too.”

The Blackhawks are perennially one of the best teams in the NHL for a reason. Not only can they strike offensively at any point, they are fast and terrific with and without the puck. Defensively, they are one of the best teams in the league, and not only because of their mobile blue line. They blocked 25 Minnesota shots in Game 2, their forwards are committed to the team game and their goaltender, Corey Crawford, has a 2.01 goals-against average in 45 career playoff games.

“A large part of that is the way they skate. They play a fast game,” Yeo said.

The Wild has scored three goals in two games, and none from its top-six forwards or top-four defensemen. Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu have combined for two points in two postseasons against Chicago and Jason Pominville and Matt Moulson, acquired the past two trade deadlines to add offense in the playoffs, have combined for two goals.

“We’ve talked about it almost like quicksand a little bit, the more you struggle, the deeper you get,” Yeo said. “That’s why it’s really important to make sure that you’re focused on the game.”

  • related content

  • Scoggins: Fading-fast Wild can't start a fire without some spark

    Tuesday May 6, 2014

    The Wild trails the defending champion Blackhawks 2-0, and the best-of-seven series has no chance of lasting long if the Wild doesn’t offer more resistance.

  • Wild wants to make things more difficult for Crawford

    Tuesday May 6, 2014

    In seven playoff games over two years, Corey Crawford has allowed 10 goals to Minnesota.

  • Game 3 preview: Chicago at Wild

    Monday May 5, 2014

    game 3 preview8 p.m. vs. Chicago • Xcel Center • CNBC, 100.3-FMPreview: The Wild, trailing 2-0 in the best-of-seven conference...

  • For Blackhawks' Hossa, there's more than just scoring goals

    Monday May 5, 2014

    Chicago’s do-it-all veteran used to be focused on offense, but he’s found happiness in a two-way game.By Chris Hine •...

  • Zach Parise’s two-goal, two-assist performance highlighted the Wild’s last home game — a 5-2 victory over Colorado in Game 6. To get back into the series against Chicago, a victory in Game 3 tonight is imperative.

  • A frenzied crowd of 19,314 welcomed the Wild for Game 6 against Colorado, and the team followed with a 5-2 victory. Will that home-ice edge repeat itself vs. Chicago?

  • During last year’s first-round playoff series, fans got to celebrate after the Wild — down 2-0 entering Game 3 — beat the Blackhawks 3-2 in overtime on Jason Zucker’s goal.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cincinnati 0 Delayed
Baltimore 0
Boston 7 Top 4th Inning
NY Yankees 1
Detroit 1 Top 4th Inning
Cleveland 2
NY Mets 5 Top 4th Inning
Miami 3
Philadelphia 0 Top 5th Inning
Atlanta 0
Toronto 2 Bottom 3rd Inning
Tampa Bay 2
Milwaukee 0 Top 1st Inning
Chicago Cubs 0
LA Angels 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Houston 0
Chicago WSox 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Minnesota 0
Texas 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Kansas City 0
Pittsburgh 0 Top 1st Inning
St. Louis 0
San Francisco - Y. Petit 7:40 PM
Colorado - J. Lyles
Seattle - J. Paxton 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Gray
Washington - D. Fister 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - C. Kershaw
Arizona - W. Miley 9:10 PM
San Diego - O. Despaigne
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
Buffalo 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Minnesota 9/7/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Cleveland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Jacksonville 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Oakland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Cincinnati 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Washington 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Tennessee 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
New England 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Tampa Bay
San Francisco 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Indianapolis 9/7/14 7:30 PM
Denver
NY Giants 9/8/14 6:10 PM
Detroit
San Diego 9/8/14 9:20 PM
Arizona
Miami-Florida 13 FINAL
(25) Louisville 31
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(7) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(19) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(18) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(23) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(2) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Washington
(14) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(13) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(15) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(7) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(17) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(21) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(15) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(12) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(16) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(9) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(21) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(8) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(11) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Minnesota 9:00 PM
Phoenix

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many games will the Vikings win this season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close