Wild knows good won't be good enough against Chicago

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 4, 2014 - 7:32 AM

Territorial advantage in Game 1 didn’t matter when it counted.

– The Wild outshot, outchanced and outhit the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 Friday night, but afterward, the score read 5-2 Blackhawks, and Mike Yeo proceeded to scold his players without naming names, saying too many were “below average” and not at the level needed when facing the defending Stanley Cup champions.

One day later, after the Wild practiced Saturday at United Center, the coach was a lot calmer and even admitted he was mostly doing a little manufactured postgame coaching, so to speak.

Yeo has got a great memory. In Game 1 last postseason against the Blackhawks, the Wild played well enough to win but lost in overtime and then got smoked in Game 2. Most recently, in the first round against the Colorado Avalanche, the Wild played well enough to win Game 1, threw it away during a late-game meltdown and then wasn’t good enough to win Game 2.

Yeo said he believes the Blackhawks will be better during Sunday’s Game 2 matinee. So the Wild better do the same, and that means being better on special teams, hitting the net and always being aware when Blackhawks star Patrick Kane hits the ice.

“We played a good game last game, but we didn’t play a great game,” Yeo said Saturday. “The little things that were missing, there was just a very small dip in some of the little things — stick on puck, net front screens, whether it’s a shot block that end up being the difference. Knowing who we’re playing against and the level of team that they are, we’re not going to get away with playing good games.”

The Blackhawks held an off-ice workout Saturday rather than practice, and coach Joel Quenneville and a handful of players all said the Wild outplayed Chicago.

Defenseman Johnny Oduya even went as far as to say, “We got away with one. We’re not going to do that again this series.”

The Wild pinned Chicago in its end for most the second period, outshooting the Blackhawks 17-3 and missing the net another 11 times. While the latter’s not a positive stat, it provides further evidence of the Wild’s territorial advantage and edge in scoring chances.

“They outworked us. That’s the bottom line,” Oduya said.

Added captain Jonathan Toews: “I think we almost fed them that confidence that they could win that game with our own sloppy play. We weren’t happy with the way we played. We made a lot of mistakes that were unnecessary. I think it just comes down to making sure that we’ve got that work ethic and that we’ve got that energy and that high pace we always talk about and other things will fall into place and make things harder on them.

“I think they gained that momentum, gained that energy that they wanted off our poor play in a way. We’ll try and be better in that regards [Sunday].”

Yeo wants everybody engaged. Defenseman Jonas Brodin particularly struggled, halting momentum twice with ill-timed, careless high-sticking penalties. In the sin bin for six minutes, Brodin cost the Wild two power-play goals.

By contrast, the Wild’s power play went 0-for-3 and is now 0-for-20 in the postseason against the Chicago the past two years.

“They’ve got a really good penalty kill,” said Zach Parise, who leads the NHL with 11 points this postseason. “They’re patient. A lot of teams are really aggressive, and they’re not. They give you those shots from the sides, shots from the flank and they just try to get in the shooting lanes, so it’s hard to get it through.

“I think for us, we can’t allow it to frustrate us and we can’t just start blasting pucks and getting frustrated. You still have to make the play when it’s there. But we’ve got to get it to the net one way or the other.”

The fact the Blackhawks always are in shooting lanes is partially the reason the Wild missed 18 nets (four by Jason Pominville), 11 in the second period. Also, maybe Corey Crawford is in Minnesota’s head. The goalie has given up the Wild nine goals in six playoff games dating to last year.

“They front the puck really well, just about as good as any team in the league,” Parise said.

The Wild also must do a better job being aware when Kane is on the ice. He was invisible in the first two periods Friday, then emerged like all great game-breakers do after the Wild tied the score in the third period.

  • related content

  • Souhan: Wild needs more from Pominville, Moulson

    Sunday May 4, 2014

    Chicago – At the last two NHL trading deadlines, desperate to improve their scoring and depth, the Wild dealt two...

  • Souhan blog: Blackhawks think they should have played better in opener

    Saturday May 3, 2014

    From United Center

  • Showtime is Kane's time

    Sunday May 4, 2014

    The Chicago star again showed a flair for the dramatic in the third period of Game 1.

  • Wild goalie Bryzgalov trying to break out of funk

    Sunday May 4, 2014

    CHICAGO – Look back at the goals Ilya Bryzgalov has allowed his postseason, and you’d have to nitpick to decree...

  • Game 2 preview: Wild at Chicago

    Saturday May 3, 2014

    wild gameday2 p.m. at Chicago • United Center • Ch. 11, 100.3-FMPreview: The Wild’s first game nationally broadcast on NBC...

  • Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo diagramed a drill for his players d...

  • Coach Mike Yeo went to the drawing board during Saturday’s practice, perhaps diagramming a way for his team to score more goals.

  • Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford kicked aside a shot in Game 1 on Friday and has given up only nine goals in six playoff games against the Wild.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Texas - WP: N. Martinez 5 FINAL
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 4
Seattle - LP: J. Paxton 3 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 4
Toronto - WP: R. Dickey 9 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 5
NY Mets - WP: Z. Wheeler 8 FINAL
Oakland - LP: J. Samardzija 5
Atlanta - LP: D. Carpenter 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: M. Melancon 3
Houston - WP: S. Feldman 5 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: D. Huff 2
Arizona - LP: E. Marshall 2 FINAL
Washington - WP: R. Soriano 3
LA Angels - WP: C. Rasmus 8 FINAL
Boston - LP: C. Buchholz 3
Detroit - WP: R. Porcello 6 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Odorizzi 0
Cincinnati - LP: J. Cueto 3 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: L. Lynn 7
San Francisco - WP: J. Peavy 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: E. Jackson 3
Baltimore - WP: W. Chen 4 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: H. Noesi 3
Cleveland - WP: T. House 5 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: R. Nolasco 0
Kansas City - LP: D. Duffy 2 FINAL
Colorado - WP: J. De La Rosa 5
San Diego - WP: E. Stults 4 FINAL
Los Angeles - LP: R. Hernandez 1
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Carolina 8/22/14 6:30 PM
New England
NY Giants 8/22/14 6:30 PM
NY Jets
Jacksonville 8/22/14 6:30 PM
Oakland 8/22/14 7:00 PM
Green Bay
Chicago 8/22/14 9:00 PM
Tampa Bay 8/23/14 3:30 PM
Tennessee 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Dallas 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Washington 8/23/14 6:30 PM
New Orleans 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Minnesota 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Houston 8/23/14 8:00 PM
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
Colorado 3
San Jose 1 FINAL
Seattle 1
Montreal 8/22/14 7:30 PM
Toronto 8/23/14 3:00 PM
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question