Souhan: Hearing is believing as momentum shifted in Game 5

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 12, 2014 - 12:13 PM

– Wild coach Mike Yeo didn’t exactly channel Yogi Berra, but he came close.

Berra once said, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

Late Sunday night, after the Wild had allowed Game 5 to slip away 2-1 to the Blackhawks, Yeo said, “We’re in familiar territory again.”

These playoffs have become the Department of Redundancy Department. For the second consecutive series, the Wild lost a Game 5 on the road and faces a win-or-stay-home Game 6 at Xcel Energy Center. The opponents, Colorado and Chicago, are far different in pedigree. The feelings are nevertheless the same.

To know what was happening early Sunday night at United Center, you didn’t need HD TV or a 300-page pamphlet on how to figure out whether the NHL playoffs were being broadcast on CNBC, MSNBC, BBC or the Food Network. (Breaking news: Next year the playoffs will be seen on Uncle Luke’s Cable Access in Tupelo, Miss.)

All you had to do was listen.

In the first period, the fans whistled, signifying their boredom with the home team.

At the end of the first period, the fans booed the defending Stanley Cup champ off the ice, loudly enough that the folks who run the United Center turned up the organ music to cover the jeers.

By the end of the third, the Madhouse on Madison was raucous again, and the silence had emigrated to the visitor’s locker room.

You know what happens after a team loses a lead to lose a Game 5 on the road.

Talking heads will tell you that the loss is devastating. That the victor in that game is bound to be the victor in the series. Both might be statements of probability. Neither is a statement of fact.

The talking heads will also tell you the Blackhawks pose a sterner test than Colorado. That sounds true, but in reality the Wild has dominated long stretches of both series.

While the Blackhawks held serve, the Wild threatened Chicago enough to silence a usually boisterous crowd.

While the Blackhawks have been here before, in terms of winning a playoff series, the Wild have been here before in this postseason — losing in Game 5 on the road when it had a chance to win.

After the Game 5 loss in Colorado, the Wild immediately began talking about how it had to win only one road game to win the series. That sounded like arrogance, because Minnesota would have to win Game 6 to even force a Game 7, but it proved prophetic.

Game 5 was not Chicago teaching the Minnesota pups a lesson. It was a typical playoff loss, one decided by posts hit and missed, by a deflection, and by a home team belatedly responding with desperation.

“We played well in the first, they played well in the second, and it was a sword fight in the third,” Wild forward Erik Haula said.

Haula as much as anyone prompted the whistles and boos. In the first period, he picked up the puck in the Wild zone, then blew past Patrick “Showtime” Kane, probable Norris Trophy winner Duncan Keith, standout defenseman Brent Seabrook and the goalie who won the Cup last year, Corey Crawford. Haula’s end-to-end goal was both pretty and gritty, as he tapped in his own rebound to make it 1-0.

After being booed off the ice, the Blackhawks took control of the game in the second period. They tied it on Bryan Bickell’s power-play deflection, and in the third period, the Blackhawks scored the winner on Jonathan Toews’ goal with 15:27 remaining.

The game ended with the Wild playing 6-on-5, then locked in skirmishes all over the ice.

Forget the clichés about Games 5. This wasn’t the deciding game, or even the pivotal game. If the Wild loses in six, it didn’t deserve to win the series. If the Wild wins Game 6, then the first pivotal game of the series will be played Thursday at United Center.

That would be familiar territory, again.

That would be something to hear.

 

Jim Souhan can be heard weekdays at noon and Sundays from 10 to noon on 1500 ESPN. His Twitter name is @SouhanStrib. • jsouhan@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Baltimore 2 FINAL
Detroit 15
NY Yankees 5 FINAL
Philadelphia 5
Northeastern 1 FINAL
Boston 2
Miami-Fla 1 FINAL
Miami 7
Pittsburgh 8 FINAL
Toronto 7
San Francisco 4 FINAL
Oakland 9
Cleveland 0 FINAL
Cincinnati 10
Boston College 0 FINAL
Boston 1
Arizona State 0 FINAL
Arizona 4
Boston 79 FINAL
Cleveland 110
LA Lakers 103 FINAL
Charlotte 104
Sacramento 124 FINAL
New York 86
Houston 96 FINAL
Atlanta 104
Utah 93 FINAL
Memphis 82
Washington 92 FINAL
Chicago 97
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
Denver 106
Nashville 1 FINAL
New Jersey 3
Calgary 3 FINAL(OT)
Philadelphia 2
Washington 5 FINAL
Columbus 3
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Toronto 3 FINAL
Florida 2
Ottawa 2 FINAL(SO)
Minnesota 3
NY Islanders 2 FINAL(OT)
Dallas 3
Anaheim 4 FINAL
Arizona 1
Los Angeles 5 FINAL
Edmonton 2
San Jose 6 FINAL
Vancouver 2
Ole Miss 82 FINAL
Alabama 74
Eastern Mich 67 FINAL
Ball State 60
Kent State 81 FINAL
Bowling Green 80
Ohio 66 FINAL
Buffalo 93
Georgetown 60 FINAL
Butler 54
Toledo 77 FINAL
Central Mich 85
Rhode Island 59 FINAL
Dayton 75
Youngstown St 67 FINAL
Detroit 77
North Carolina 81 FINAL
Georgia Tech 49
Loyola-Maryland 45 FINAL
Holy Cross 62
Iowa 77 FINAL
Indiana 63
Akron 63 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 70
Army 52 FINAL
Navy 56
Maryland 60 FINAL
Rutgers 50
Kennesaw St 54 FINAL
USC Upstate 90
Jacksonville 63 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 81
Lipscomb 76 FINAL
Northern Ky 73
Stetson 67 FINAL
North Florida 81
Wright State 57 FINAL
Ill-Chicago 60
Western Mich 63 FINAL
Northern Ill 65
Nebraska Omaha 80 FINAL
North Dakota 78
Houston Baptist 71 FINAL
Abilene Christian 83
NC State 66 FINAL
Clemson 61
Texas A&M 62 FINAL
Florida 66
Kentucky 72 FINAL
Georgia 64
West Virginia 69 FINAL
Kansas 76
Auburn 61 FINAL
Missouri 63
Michigan 78 FINAL
Northwestern 82
Villanova 76 FINAL
Creighton 72
Longwood 55 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 63
Charleston Southern 39 FINAL
Presbyterian 47
Coastal Carolina 54 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 68
NJIT 51 FINAL
UMass Lowell 60
West Virginia 55 FINAL
Kansas State 59
TCU 45 FINAL
Texas 79
Fresno State 61 FINAL
Air Force 41
San Jose St 76 FINAL
Boise State 91
Nevada 61 FINAL
Colorado State 68
UNLV 61 FINAL
San Diego State 76
Wyoming 61 FINAL
Utah State 57
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Wild finish out the season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close