The Wild lost the series, but this postseason represents a significant step for an organization that has reshaped itself the past two years.
In the end, the team that lived on the edge and always found a way to wiggle out of jams couldn’t escape one last difficult spot.
In the end, the team that never found any situation too bleak stood in stunned silence, along with its fans. They couldn’t believe that a fabulous display of hockey, and a captivating postseason run, could end like this.
A routine dump-in, a weird bounce, a backhand by Patrick Kane, and that was it.
And then came a brief roar of approval from 19,000 fans who showed their gratitude for a team that refused to go quietly and for a playoff run that delivered some terrific moments.
The Wild’s season ended on Kane’s overtime goal in Game 6 on Tuesday night, giving the Chicago Blackhawks a 2-1 victory and a 4-2 series win in the Western Conference semifinals.
The Wild lost the series, but this entire postseason represents a significant step for an organization that has reshaped itself the past two years.
“This is a special group,” an emotional Mike Yeo said afterward.
Pressed into a tight spot once again, the Wild poured everything into this elimination game and showed what desperation hockey looks and feels like.
It’s Matt Cooke diving over a defender to retrieve a puck along the boards.
It’s Erik Haula sprinting down center ice as if he has a jet pack attacked to his back.
It’s Ilya Bryzgalov remaining calm as Patrick Sharp bears down on yet another breakaway.
It’s Mikael Granlund and Zach Parise and Jason Pominville generating scoring chance after scoring chance.
It’s Ryan Suter continuing to battle despite dealing with an arm injury that clearly affected his play.
It’s Mikko Koivu hustling on backchecks and wrestling on the ice for loose pucks.
And so much more.
“Our guys did everything we asked,” Yeo said. “That’s why it hurts.”
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