Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.
Also find Russo on Facebook.
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The Wild will be without Chris Stewart tonight in Game 3 of its playoff series against the Blackhawks at Xcel Energy Center. Stewart, who has had a tough playoff with no goals on nine shots in eight games, has a right arm injury. No specifics as to what the issue is and how long it will be. Coach Mike Yeo only said day-to-day.
Also, the Wild nearly scrapped the morning skates here at the arena today and were looking into having them at off-site sites due to a power outage in the area that affected the ice plant. The ice was mushy when everybody arrived today (it was obvious something was up, power was all out at Wild headquarters, the street lights were out). When Yeo walked across the ice for his radio interview, he left footprints in the slush.
Wild winger Zach Parise said after the skate that the ice was fantastic, and so strangely did every player because it was clear they were told not to complain about the ice.
"It was fine," Yeo said. "We’ve got a great crew here. They were thrown a curveball last night, but they did a great job as far as handling it. It was maybe a little bit heavy, but you could tell that it has cooled off a lot, especially since when I saw it this morning and they’ll have it ready to go for tonight."
Happy Cinco de MikeYeo everybody (I stole that from the great @tommydahl on Twitter).
Reminds me of last year between Games 2 and 3. The Wild returned home from Chicago and on off-days in the playoffs, when teams don't practice, the PR guys/ladies trot out four or five players to face the media.
Dany Heatley was one of the Wild reps, walks into the locker room and with that hilarious Heatley tone, goes, "What the $^@&% are you guys doing here? It's Cinco de Mayo?"
It was very funny. You had to be there, I guess.
The Wild looks to avoid digging itself a 3-0 hole to the Blackhawks tonight. This is the fourth time in the past five series the Wild is down 2-0 and third time to Chicago. It came back to win the Colorado series in the first round last year and won Games 3 and 4 against Chicago last year before losing in six games.
In the past four home Game 3s, the Wild is 4-0 and has outscored its opponents (Chicago twice, Colorado and St. Louis) 11-2.
“There’s been a lot of comparisons from this year to last year, but it’s a whole new year," Parise said. "Last year, good or bad doesn’t have any impact on what we’re doing today and how those first two games went. I just don’t think we can expect to come home and play better just because we did it last year, that’s not how it works. We have to be a lot better.”
Stewart was hurt in the second period of Game 2 when Johnny Oduya made a great diving, sliding sweep of the puck to foil a Stewart breakaway. But after doing so, Oduya, while on the ice, grabbed hold of Stewart's right ankle and tripped him to the ice. Stewart crashed hard into the end boards with Oduya landing on top of him.
Stewart left the game cradling his arm. He returned late in the second. Interesting, but third straight year the Wild's trade-deadline pickup has missed games in the playoffs. In 2013, Jason Pominville because of the late-year concussion from Dustin Brown. Last year, Matt Moulson because of an oblique issue if I remember correctly. Now Stewart.
After the no-call by referee Gord Dwyer (it was a clear trip, and even if you think he got the puck first, this exact rule was changed heading into this season as you can read here), Yeo lit into Dwyer during the TV timeout.
This is where is actually gets funny: It was time for the pre-scheduled bench interview with NBC Sports Network's Pierre McGuire. That's taped during TV timeouts and re-aired when they come back for break, so McGuire had to interrupt Yeo's fit on the ref. That may explain to you while Yeo's face was tomato-sauce red during that interview if you remember.
“Of course, at the time, we’re down and so probably a little more frustration at the time that you’re looking to come back in the game," Yeo said. "It’s a scoring chance on the play and he gets banged up on the play, but we didn’t lose the game because of that.”
Jordan Schroeder could at least draw in for Stewart tonight.
"If he comes in the lineup, what he does bring is speed," Yeo said. "The fact that he’s played against these guys this year and he’s actually played pretty effectively against them. Speed on the outside, but certainly what we’re going to need from him and we’ve seen it last game, it’s one thing to try and create but you gotta make sure you’re smart about how you manage the puck. Whether it’s him or anybody in our lineup, we gotta make sure our speed is a factor. But we’re not fast if we’re turning over the pucks.”
Yeo said the lines this morning won't necessarily be the line tonight: Parise-Granlund-Pominville; Niederreiter-Koivu-Schroeder; Zucker-Coyle-Vanek; Cooke-Haula-Brodziak.
It wouldn't shock me if Ryan Carter draws into the lineup.
Niederreiter-Coyle-Schroeder has been a good line this season, so I wonder if Yeo goes with a Zucker-Koivu-Vanek or Pominville line and a Parise-Granlund-Vanek or Pominville line and then maybe have a fourth line or Cooke-Brodziak-Carter. Total conjecture though. Kinda talking out loud, and if you go with my guessed lines, that means Haula's out. Again, not sure.
Schroeder said, "Real excited. It’s not about me or individual. It’s about the team. We have to come out and play a solid game and get a win.
"That’s my game. Speed, speed, speed. I’ve just got to be constantly moving and being responsible defensively but using my speed wide and pushing the D back."
If Carter plays, Yeo said, "He’s a guy that’s easy to root for because of his character and his work ethic, the way he competes, the way he plays for his teammates. I think that you’re looking at a guy who has experience, who has Stanley Cup experience. Certainly that could factor in. We’ve talked about it before as well when we’re making some decisions – the fact that he’s a very good penalty killer for us, that could definitely factor in too."
The ice situation was only a minor controversy.
Said the Blackhawks' Andrew Shaw: "It is still better ice than the [United Center], so guys are excited to play on something like that. ... It was still pretty good to start. It was slushy near the end. But it should be fine."
Chicago TV reporters were asking accusatory questions like the Wild did this on purpose to slow the Hawks down, like the Wild, you know, shut off the power to half of downtown St. Paul and their entire headquarters and all the traffic lights near the rink.
Do you think they're just playing mind games with you guys? Shaw said, "I mean, they had to skate on it this morning, too. That doesn't bother us at all. If anything, it makes the fresh ice for the game feel that much better.
Could it slow down the game? Shaw said, "I mean, it's pretty cold out there right now. I think it should be fast ice. It should be fine.
So no funny business? Shaw said, "No, I don't think so at all. They've got to play on the same ice tonight. It should be fine."
I'll be on KFAN at 5:55 p.m. in front of the arena and on Fox Sports North during the 6-7 p.m. pregame show. The game is on NBC Sports Network with my pal Kenny Albert on the mic.
I'm also doing a podcast at the Liffey at 2 p.m. with columnist Jim Souhan. Our special guest is Wild owner Craig Leipold. Come on down or listen at souhanunfiltered.com.
Check out startribune.com/wild for all our articles today. If you want to know more about Wild anthem singer James Bohn, I did a feature on the Vietnam vet here.
The Wild will attempt to avoid a third consecutive 0-2 series' hole to the Chicago Blackhawks tonight at the United Center.
The big news of the morning is Erik Haula will make his playoff season debut tonight. Scratched in the seven previous playoff games and three of the final six games of the regular season, Haula will play for the first time since April 11 because Justin Fontaine is out with a groin injury.
Kyle Brodziak will move to right wing and Haula will center the line 5-on-5 with Matt Cooke. Brodziak will take some draws on the right side, too.
"I am excited," said Haula, who found out by seeing his name on the board after arriving at the rink this morning. "Like I said yesterday, that’s the only feeling I really have is excitement. I’ve been working hard but it’s not about me. It’s about me coming in and helping. It’s not about what happened before, it’s about this team and playing as well as we can tonight."
Today's Star Tribune coverage:
My advance on tonight's game and the Wild's confidence it can avoid that hole
Coach Mike Yeo had a number of options to replace Fontaine, but Yeo said he wants Haula's speed to be a factor and the ultimate decider was the fact that Haula scored three goals and two assists and was plus-4 against the Hawks in last year's playoffs.
"I’ve said it before, it wasn’t about beating up on Haula at that time," Yeo said of scratching him to start the playoffs. "There were other guys that just deserved to be in the lineup. And we were choosing to only dress 12 forwards.
"But what we’d like to see from him is his speed has to be a factor. The way he’s skating through the middle of the ice, the way he’s supporting pucks, the way he’s challenging the defensemen and pushing them back. But also, more than anything else, it’s his battle level, it’s his defensive game. Those guys are going to be on the ice against good players and they have to make sure they’re up to that task."
Haula was the guy Yeo took out in Chicago on April 7 when Jason Zucker returned, so a lot of this was a numbers game.
But Yeo wants Haula to compete harder, use his speed more, bring energy and be strong in the dirty areas.
Not much else going on.
The Wild is 0-7 in this arena the past three postseasons, "Far more important for me is it would be nice to even up the series and go back to Minnesota with home-ice advantage. I think obviously it would go more from a big disadvantage to a little bit more of an advantage in our favor. I’m not getting caught up in all that stuff. Most important is just to make sure that we’ve got the right focus coming into the game. That’s when we’re at our best when we’re focused on our process. We know how important that end result is to us, but how do we go about trying to obtain it – that’s got to be our focus right now."
Charlie Coyle also said the Wild's not intimidated by the giant arena, loud fans, etc., etc.
“It’s not even a factor," Coyle said. "We clinched a playoff spot in this building a week or two ago, so it’s really just a mindset coming in, clearing your mind, coming in and saying ‘we’re a good team here.’ We’ve been good on the road of late and we’ve got to carry that into it. We’re not focusing on that too much. It’s a new game, a new day and we’ll treat it as that.”
One area the Wild has to pay attention to is how quickly the Blackhawks counter, not even after turnovers, but shots on goal. I haven't seen a team so good at turning a shot on goal or blocked shot into a rush in a snap.
Devan Dubnyk mentioned that yesterday, in fact.
I asked Yeo about that this morning. How do you guard against this? "I think there’s a couple things – one you have to make sure that when you have an opportunity to shoot the puck, you’re getting it off quickly. Especially their defensemen, they like to front a lot of shots which leads to a lot of blocks and those blocks are in pretty good structure and position where they can counter attack from that. It’s the recognition – we still have to shoot pucks. It’s not like we can all the sudden just be afraid to shoot pucks. We have to make sure we’re getting pucks there. And if we do get it by them, we’ve seen a few pictures already where we are in behind their defensemen and we’re all alone with the goalie where we can create an advantage if we get it off a little quicker and do get it to the net. If that’s not there, the recognition of making sure we’re not forcing it – that’s actually how we scored our first goal of the game. we didn’t have a play to the net and their defensemen were coming up and we were able to get that puck down low and establish some puck control from there."
Zach Parise said, "We learned a lot from that first game. We want to come out and establish our pace right away, play the game we want to play and just try and win the first period.”
Parise also talked about the progression of Mikael Granlund's game: "Since I’ve been here it’s been pretty impressive. He really came into his own last year in the second half of the year and the Olympics. despite a couple of injuries he’s had he’s played some really good hockey. He competes hard, he’s fast, he’s good at carrying the puck through the middle and that really helps out his wingers when he’s able to skate up the middle of the ice and kick it out to the sides, it gives us a little extra room.”
BY THE WAY, the great Doc Emrick has been getting lit up by some of you by the way he pronounces Mikael Granlund, like GRAHNLOOND. That's actually correct. We asked Granlund today and that's how it's pronounced in Finland. We all Americanize it and frankly he said, "The thing is, I don't really care. You need to ask my mom."
Emrick told Granlund, "The good thing is it doesn't affect your play one way or the other." Granlund said, "Exactly. Who cares?"
Dubnyk is looking to rebound.
Here's some of his comments from this morning:
Sticking to their game plan no matter what: “We’ve done a good job of rolling along here regardless of what happens. Game 5 against St. Louis they got a power play goal in the first 10 minutes of the first period and we didn’t sow down, we stuck to the plan and ended up taking that game. We certainly want to try and get a lead but we understand that we need to chip away and stick to our game regardless of what happens.”
On getting a split, and ultimately winning the series: “We have to believe in ourselves and in our game plan and realize that we’re fully capable of winning a game, not just hoping to win it. We feel that if we keep getting better we’ll have some success.”
His first playoffs: “It’s been a lot of fun. Exciting times. I’m happy that we had the opportunity in the few months leading up where every game was so meaningful and we really needed it to get that experience of parking games, win or loss, forgetting about them and moving on to the next one. That was so important down the stretch. Not having playoff experience, that experience down the stretch has really helped me so far.”
Playing in the hostile environment of the United Center: “It’s a different challenge. You know that if they’re yelling at you and giving you a hard time it’s usually because you’re doing a good job. This has always, right from when I first came into the league, one of my favorite places to play. It’s such a great atmosphere and always an exciting game to play. You always know you’re in tough against this group. Hopefully I can create some good memories here.”
Coming back in games: “You try not to think too much about the situation. You don’t think about needing to score three goals, you think about getting to your game. It was really impressive the way we came out in the second period and started playing exactly how we want to play, using our speed as much as we can.”
Wild’s ability to bounce back after a loss this season: “It’s not thinking about losing back to back games. Not approaching it as a bounce back game, We’ve been so good down the stretch at approaching and preparing for every game, whether it’s a five or six game win streak or we’ve lost one. We just prepare the next game the exact same way. It’s important, when you have a group in here that’s as good as we are, that you don’t change anything. You think about bouncing back or needing to come out with a great effort. We know the effort we want to give every single night and we just continue with that regardless of what happened the game before.”
Finally, Game 1 between the Wild and Chicago Blackhawks is upon us.
It only requires just a little more waiting on your part for the Central Division time slot of 8:45 p.m. CT for the opening puck drop.
By now, unless you didn't read a word this week, you know the lines and lineups.
No changes, but if you don't know, click the scouting report links I'm about to post for the projected lines for both teams.
Today, at 5 p.m., I will be doing a podcast with Jim Souhan live from Chicago. You can listen at souhanunfiltered.com, iHeart Radio or subscribe on iTunes.
Also, at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jim and I will be doing a podcast at the Liffey in St. Paul. Our special guest will be Wild owner Craig Leipold.
Also, at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, I will be doing a live chat at startribune.com/wild. Please join and pepper me with questions.
I will be on KFAN today at 4:30 p.m.
Twitter follows tonight:
Team Star Tribune: @russostrib, @souhanstrib, @schustee, @CarlosGphoto, @fromjefferson
Some Blackhawks scribes: @MarkLazerus, @TramyersCSN, @ChrisKuc, @BrianHedger and @ESPNChiPowers.
Here's today's Star Tribune coverage:
Here's my Zach Parise/Patrick Kane feature on how they're very different players with different styles and personalities, yet they have a ton of respect for each other and it gives some insight into how both tick.
Here is Jim Souhan's column on Iron Men Ryan Suter and Devan Dubnyk
Here is the notebook on how the Wild wants to keep up with its good discipline, on Dubnyk being a finalist for the Masterton, on the sick bay and Las Vegas odds on this series.
Here's some coach Joel Quenneville stuff from this morning:
"Minny is probably he most disciplined team as far as positionally aware of denying either access through the middle of the ice, through the zone, to the middle fo the net. as good a checking team as you’re going to see, that we’ve faced all year. we know how tough it is to generate shots, chances, and the willingness to be patient and improvising when you can. you have to be aware of cautioning yourselves: when you try to create, you’re vulnerable. so let’s make good decisions with the puck."
On Jason Zucker: "He’s played well, very dangerous player, excellent speed, use him in a few ways. but his speed jumps out at you. has some presence aswell, dangerous off the rush. whether they use him offensively or defensively, he’s a factor."
How "Minny" has changed: "In the last three years they’ve improved each and every year, they’re deeper up front, very balanced on the back end as well. improvement in team game – goaltending’s improved as well – they’ve progressed."
Here's Devan Dubnyk on being a finalist for the Masterton: "That’s a completely different side of it compared to the Vezina [finalist]. It’s been a big story and a big part of my life over the last year turning it around, so to get that recognition, I’m certainly honored."
Here's some Mike Yeo, who opened his presser by eating a doughnut (so he's loose):
On Mikko Koivu the last two series against Chicago: It’s always a tough challenge and he’s going to face some of the toughest challenges. He’s always going to face good d pairings or whether it’s Toews or a checking line to try to match them up, he’s going to be in a role that’s going to challenge him at both ends of the ice. We’ve been pleased with what he’s done so far. I think when you come out on the short end of it like we have in a series, you’re always looking for a reason. We haven’t scored enough goals. I think the biggest difference really is there has been times where he’s done very well in his matchup, making sure he hasn’t lost in very difficult matchups, but we’ve gotten beat elsewhere in our lineup and that’s where we have to see if we’re different this year.
Biggest gut-punch the way the series ended last year? "That was a tough one, yeah. That still stings a little bit that one. You know, I think there’s some good things that we can take out of that series, but bottom line was we still fell a little bit short. Even if we won that game there’s still no guarantees. We said the last couple of days, ‘We haven’t won a playoff game in this building.’ So obviously if we’re going to win this playoff series then we have to find a way to do that."
What convinces you that you can beat them this time? "Again, there’s nothing that’s convincing here. I’ve said this for the last couple of days, there’s a lot of reasons for optimism, there’s a lot of reasons why we could feel good or feel confident. We have a quiet confidence about us and we know what we’re capable of. We also know what we’re up against. For the last several months we’ve been at it pretty good and we’ve had to be at our best. And with that we’ve been probably pretty close to the best team in the league, and obviously with respect to the other teams out there, but the bottom line is until we get into this series, until we find something different, or prove that something’s different, then nothing’s changed. We have to change something here along the way."
The Blues got taken to a clinic in Game 3 and responded more than impressively in Game 4.
We'll see if the Wild can do the same thing tonight.
Good day from St. Louis, where Game 5 is tonight at 8:30 p.m. This is the third consecutive playoff round in which the Wild has been tied 2-2. The Wild lost Game 5 on the road twice last postseason (it won Games 6 and 7 in the first round to beat Colorado) and has lost five consecutive Game 5s since 2003.
Scenario is simple: Wild win, it can close out the series at home Sunday. Wild lose, and it must avoid elimination Sunday and force a Game 7.
I'll be doing a live podcast from St. Louis with Jim Souhan today at 4 p.m. It can be heard at www.souhanunfiltered.com, iHeart Radio or easiest by subscribing for free on iTunes.
I'll be on KFAN at 5:15 p.m., KARE 11 with Dave Schwartz tonight at 10 and also on Bucky Gleason's TV show in Buffalo at 5:40 p.m. CT.
Pay attention at 6 p.m. today. We'll find out if Devan Dubnyk is a Vezina finalist.
You can tell the Blues expected the Wild to blow up its lines tonight. On the Blues' locker-room marker board before Game 1, the lines were set and exact.
Today, it read:
Cooke? Carter? Fontaine? Vanek-Coyle-???
The Wild didn't blow up the lines though. The only lineup change expected is Matt Cooke in for Sean Bergenheim, meaning
Coach Mike Yeo said he liked Cooke's Game 2 effort, but because they lost, he went with the Game 1 lineup in Game 3, won that game, so they went with the same lineup for Game 4.
What do you have to bring tonight, Cooke was asked.
"I think it’s pretty obvious my game," he said. "The more time we can spend in the offensive zone, the better it is for our line and the more chances we’re going to get and the less time we spend in our zone. I think above all else it’s my experience, my emotional level that can come in and support the guys in a tight game and in a playoff type atmosphere because I’ve had a lot to pull on."
This was funny. You’re not used to sitting out playoff games, what’s that like sitting three of the first four games?
Cooke with a grin: "I did it last year. I did. Seven times. I did."
OK, different circumstances.
Cooke said, "It’s never easy sitting out a game at all let alone in the playoffs. I feel like my game is built for this time of year and these type of games. It’s tough, but I had a tough year with injuries and guys have come in and played well and they deserved and earned a spot to be out there playing. I didn’t expect to come in and just leapfrog everybody because they were a part of the success down the stretch and I had to watch from the outside looking in."
Blues center Jori Lehtera may not play tonight. Hitchcock called him 50-50 after being nailed by a Jay Bouwmeester shot in a third-period power play Wednesday with the Blues ahead 6-1. Marcel Goc, scratched in Game 4 for Chris Porter, looks like he will draw back in for Lehtera if he doesn't play and Porter, Zach Parise's best bud, would stay in.
Porter, who wouldn't be a bad guy for the Wild to sign this summer, is fast, aggressive, physical and seems to be St. Louis' secret weapon in the playoffs. Scratched often in the regular season, he always seems to come in and make a playoff impact. The other night in Minnesota, he made life difficult on the Wild's defensemen and assisted on the first goal.
Hitchcock had some interesting stuff to say today on the series:
Game 4, Wild vs. St. Louis Blues, tonight at 8:30, Xcel Energy Center.
So, it’s hurry up and wait time for the late start.
I’ll be doing a live podcast today with Jim Souhan at the Liffey in St. Paul, so come on down or listen at souhanunfiltered.com.
I'll be on NHL Network's Arena cam live at 5:20 p.m.
I’ll be on KFAN at 5:55 p.m. and Fox Sports North during the pregame show and first intermission.
Good morning from the press room, where I’ll be hunkered down for most of the day except for my run over to the Liffey and to Starbucks, of course.
If you didn’t see today’s Star Tribune coverage, please head over to www.startribune.com/wild.
But here is a fun read on Matt Dumba through the eyes of his parents.
And here’s a column by Chip Scoggins on the Wild having a different kind of toughness that has made it successful thus far in this series.
Also, over at the Wild Star Tribune page, Rachel Blount’s story on what the Blues plan for tonight, the Wild-Blues notebook leading with, of course, Steve Ott hopefully for the last time and a column by Patrick Reusse.
Lots of queries about the Game 5 time Friday. My guess is it is dependent on tonight’s Canadiens-Senators game. If the Habs sweep, maybe Wild-Blues get a 7 p.m. time. If Sens force Game 5, that too would be Friday, so more than likely the Wild-Blues and their fans will have to guzzle coffee again for an 8:30 start.
Poor Central time zone teams and their fans and their beat writers. I found it humorous hearing the whining coming out of Pittsburgh for its 8:25 ET start the other night because of the draft lottery. Hey, welcome to the almost nightly playoff life of the Wild, Blues, Blackhawks, Jets and last year Avs and their fans and writers.
Can’t imagine the papers in Chicago and Nashville even had a final score today from last night’s 1:16 a.m. final.
But I digress.
Coach Mike Yeo isn’t watching the other series.
“I look at the scores, but I’m paying no attention to the other games whatsoever,” he said. “I’m probably 90 percent focused on my team and 10 percent on St. Louis, so there’s not a lot of room for anyone else out there. Obviously, it’s good hockey, the playoffs are exciting. Sometimes you have a game on when you’re eating dinner or whatever but for the most part, it’s all about trying to get ready for the next match.”
The Wild plans to release some tickets this afternoon. The team isn’t giving a time, so mosey on down to the box office or ticketmaster.com.
If you can’t get in the door and want to road trip in St. Louis, there are a TON of Game 5 tickets available at quality prices (even below face value) for Friday’s game. Go to this link.
Same Wild lineup tonight.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Blues respond tonight.
New lines at the morning skate from Ken Hitchcock, reuniting lines and pairs from earlier this season (I caution, Hitch warned us yesterday to bring an eraser, so we'll see if this was Hitch tossing a cloak and dagger at the Wild):
Marcel Goc, whom I thought was miscast on that mayhem line anyway, wasn’t on a line, so Parise's buddy Porter seems to draw in.
"It got blown up there at the end because of the two significant injuries," Hitchcock said of the lines. "Then when we came back, Backes had good chemistry going with what they had. Then we just slipped Steen and Tarasenko in with Lehtera and they obviously played very well in the last game and have played pretty well, but ... these are the three lines that have been together the most during the year. We want to make them familiar with each other. We know it's going to be a hard game and there's great chemistry; there has been all year, especially with the first two lines and we want to stay with that."
No Robert Bortuzzo again. He may be secretly hurt. I thought he was good and punishing against the Wild in the regular-season finale.
"We've reached a stage with our own team where we've just got to expect a little bit more from guys, put them in positions to succeed, put them with the guys they've spent most of the year with," Hitchcock said. "Unfortunately, Shatty was out for a long, long time so things kind of got blown up on the back-end also. But they had great chemistry when they were together until he got hurt and we'll go back to it."
Of course, Jake Allen in net.
The Blues have lost nine consecutive road games in the playoffs since 2012, having been outscored 28-11. They are 3-17 on the road in the playoffs since 2003, having been outscored 55-31.
The Wild is 6-1 at home in the playoffs in 2014 and the one game this postseason.
Via Elias Sports Bureau, teams that go up 3-1 in a best-of-seven Stanley Cup Playoffs series hold an all-time series record of 249-27 (90.2%).
“We’re approaching the game the same way,” Yeo said. “We don’t go into the game saying, ‘Oh, it’s nice we got a 2-1 lead.’ And we didn’t go in last game saying, ‘Oh no, we lost the last game.’ It’s just about the next one. That’s our approach within the game, too. If you have a good shift, how do you bounce back from the last one or how do you come back and make sure you maintain it. If you have a bad shift, what do you do when you step over the boards to try to correct it and get things going back in your direction. Likewise, that will be our same approach tonight.
“We come in with no kind of assumptions of how the game’s going to play out, no kind of thoughts in terms of ‘Oh, if we win this is what it means. If we lose, that’s what it means.’ We put all of our thoughts and focus into the idea that we have to play the game a certain way. We have to bring certain things into the game tonight. If you do that, you give yourself a better chance.”
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