Wild notes: Yeo wants more than tight defense

  • Article by: RACHEL BLOUNT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 8, 2014 - 12:06 AM

The Wild’s Charlie Coyle, center, and Nino Niederreiter kept the pressure on Chicago’s Sheldon Brookbank during Game 3 on Tuesday.

Photo: ELIZABETH FLORES • eflores@startribune.com,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Wild coach Mike Yeo said Tuesday’s 4-0 victory over Chicago was the tightest-checking game he ever had been part of. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford chose another turn of phrase to describe his team’s shutout loss in Game 3.

“They tend to play that game once in a while, where they like to shut things down and put you to sleep,’’ Crawford said of the Wild. “There wasn’t much going, on either side.’’

It might not have been the most exciting style of playoff hockey, what with all the neutral-zone trapping and the scant scoring opportunities. Though the Wild made that work to its advantage, Yeo cautioned Wednesday that Game 4 might not play out the same way. The Wild held Chicago to 19 shots on goal — even fewer than the 22 it allowed in Games 1 and 2 — and pleased its coach by maintaining its focus throughout the game.

Yeo’s team got a day off Wednesday to rest up for Friday’s Game 4 at Xcel Energy Center. While Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews believes the Wild’s aim is to hold his team to 20 shots or fewer, Yeo said there is no magic number. And as much as he appreciated his team’s defensive effort, he wants to see better execution on offense as well.

“Our goal is to play a certain way,’’ Yeo said. “We want to be aggressive in how we forecheck and take away their time and space. We want to play with good structure and make sure we’re playing as a five-man unit.

“What I want to see is for us to check at the same level but pick up our execution. There were plays there that we didn’t make. I thought we played a good game, but I could still see there’s another level for us to get to.’’

Suter OK

There had been speculation that Wild defenseman Ryan Suter injured his left shoulder or arm in the second period Tuesday night. After a collision with Chicago winger Marian Hossa, Suter fell on the arm and held it gingerly while heading up the runway to the locker room. He returned for the third period and showed no signs of injury.

Tuesday night, Yeo insisted the incident was “really nothing.’’ He added Wednesday that while some players came to Xcel on the day off to receive medical treatment, Suter was not among them, which he called a “good sign.’’

Special delivery

The Wild’s first goal Tuesday was set up in magnificent style by Justin Fontaine, who got the first playoff point of his career. As Erik Haula rushed to the net, Fontaine carried the puck to the top of the right circle, then sent a perfectly-timed saucer pass through the Chicago defense — directly to Haula, who swatted it in off a bounce.

Fontaine sat out the first two games of the first round, then was scratched for Game 7 against Colorado and Game 1 against the Blackhawks. During the regular season, the rookie recorded a goal and three assists in five games against Chicago. That led Yeo to insert Fontaine back into the lineup Tuesday, and he was delighted to see him reprise that form.

“He’s sneaky fast, and he’s sneaky strong,’’ Yeo said. “But he’s also a very composed, very smart player. Against a team like that, you need somebody who has the ability to hang onto the puck for an extra second, recognize that he has a little more time and space than some might think, and then find a way to spring somebody open.’’


• The Wild (4-0), the Blackhawks (5-0) and Montreal (3-0) are the last playoff teams with perfect records at home.

• Wild forward Zach Parise, who had a goal and an assist in Game 3, is second in the NHL with 13 points in the playoffs. He trails leader Anze Kopitar of Los Angeles by one point.

  • related content

  • Wild's Cooke eager to rejoin the playoff fray

    Wednesday May 7, 2014

    Matt Cooke's seven-game suspension is served, and the gritty forward is slated to play in Game 4 against Chicago on Friday.

  • Wild defenseman Ryan Suter, left, pressuring Chicago’s Marcus Kruger, suffered a shoulder injury in Game 3 but returned to play.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


NY Yankees - M. Pineda 12:07 PM
Toronto - D. Hutchison
Detroit - M. Scherzer 12:10 PM
Chicago WSox - C. Sale
Chicago Cubs - F. Doubront 1:15 PM
St. Louis - J. Masterson
Cincinnati - A. Simon 3:05 PM
Pittsburgh - V. Worley
Minnesota - K. Gibson 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Philadelphia - J. Williams 6:10 PM
NY Mets - B. Colon
Miami - J. Cosart 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Boston - A. Webster 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi
Cleveland - T. Bauer 6:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Detroit - K. Ryan 6:10 PM
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt
Texas - R. Ross Jr. 6:10 PM
Houston - S. Feldman
Colorado - T. Matzek 7:10 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Chicago Cubs - T. Wada 7:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Gonzales
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 7:40 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 8:05 PM
San Francisco - J. Peavy
Oakland - J. Samardzija 8:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Washington - S. Strasburg 8:10 PM
Seattle - R. Elias
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 7 1st Qtr 8:51
(7) UCLA 0 1st Qtr 4:10
Virginia 0
Western Mich 0 1st Qtr 5:38
Purdue 7
(5) Ohio State 3 1st Qtr 4:26
Navy 0
Appalachian St 0 1st Qtr 5:43
Michigan 7
Ga Southern 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 2:00 PM
West Virginia 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 2:30 PM
Marshall 2:30 PM
UC Davis 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 6:00 PM
Stephen F Austin 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 9:30 PM
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
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
Colorado 3:00 PM
New England 4:00 PM
Toronto FC
Columbus 6:30 PM
FC Dallas 7:30 PM
Real Salt Lake 9:30 PM
San Jose
Portland 9:30 PM
Vancouver FC
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Chicago 6:00 PM





question of the day

Poll: Grade the Gophers in their season opener

Weekly Question


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