Suter and Brodin will play half the game, partly because they are so good, and partly because the others have been unreliable. Clayton Stoner must keep it simple. He made a lot of bad plays with the puck down the stretch,lowlighted by his pass to Marian Hossa in a 1-0 loss to Chicago on April 9. Marco Scandella’s return could help. Sounds elementary, but Wild can’t give up the first goal. Chicago was a league-best 26-2-1 when scoring first.
The Wild rode Backstrom all year. It won’t stop now. If something happens to Backstrom, look out. Backup Josh Harding has played once since Feb. 7 and hasn’t started since being pulled Jan. 30 against Chicago (a 3-2 shootout victory for the Wild).
Mike Yeo’s job still could be in jeopardy if this is a quick and painful exit. But he has won a Stanley Cup as a Pittsburgh assistant, and his current assistants — Rick Wilson and Darryl Sydor — have both won Cups (Sydor as a player).
The Wild’s home power play, maybe because of the persistent screaming of “SHOOOOOT” from the faithful, was dreadful. How do you explain third worst at home and second best on the road? The Wild’s penalty kill better be good. It finished 18th in the NHL.
BY THE NUMBERS
The Wild’s power-play percentage on the road.
Record when scoring first (seventh best in the NHL).
|Buffalo||12/28/14 12:00 PM|
|Cleveland||12/28/14 12:00 PM|
|Dallas||12/28/14 12:00 PM|
|Indianapolis||12/28/14 12:00 PM|
|Jacksonville||12/28/14 12:00 PM|
|San Diego||12/28/14 12:00 PM|
|NY Jets||12/28/14 12:00 PM|
|Chicago||12/28/14 12:00 PM|
|Philadelphia||12/28/14 12:00 PM|
|New Orleans||12/28/14 12:00 PM|
|Carolina||12/28/14 3:25 PM|
|Detroit||12/28/14 3:25 PM|
|Oakland||12/28/14 3:25 PM|
|Arizona||12/28/14 3:25 PM|
|St. Louis||12/28/14 3:25 PM|
|Cincinnati||12/28/14 7:30 PM|
|Illinois||12/26/14 12:00 PM|
|Rutgers||12/26/14 3:30 PM|
|NC State||12/26/14 7:00 PM|
|Cincinnati||12/27/14 12:00 PM|
|Duke||12/27/14 1:10 PM|
|(15) Arizona State|
|Miami-Florida||12/27/14 2:30 PM|
|Boston College||12/27/14 3:30 PM|
|(25) Nebraska||12/27/14 7:00 PM|
|Texas A&M||12/29/14 1:00 PM|
|Oklahoma||12/29/14 4:30 PM|
|Arkansas||12/29/14 8:00 PM|
|Notre Dame||12/30/14 2:00 PM|
|(13) Georgia||12/30/14 5:45 PM|
|Maryland||12/30/14 9:00 PM|
|(9) Ole Miss||12/31/14 11:30 AM|
|(21) Boise State||12/31/14 3:00 PM|
|(8) Miss State||12/31/14 7:00 PM|
|(10) Georgia Tech|
|(19) Auburn||1/1/15 11:00 AM|
|(7) Michigan State||1/1/15 11:30 AM|
|(16) Missouri||1/1/15 12:00 PM|
|(2) Florida State||1/1/15 4:00 PM|
|(5) Ohio State||1/1/15 7:30 PM|