In the immediate aftermath of its 3-2 loss to the Jets in Game 1 Wednesday, the Wild focused on the chance it blew to pocket a series-opening victory on the road since the team blew a third-period lead.
The sting of that reality still lingered Thursday when the group reconvened at Bell MTS Place for a video session and optional practice, but the eagerness to improve for Game 2 Friday was front and center.
"I think we can be better," center Eric Staal said. "Obviously, we got ourselves the lead in the third and from there, I think we took our foot off the gas a little bit. They came at us and were able to get two to get ahead. Overall, as a group we can be a little more assertive, a little better, and we’ll look to do that tomorrow.”
Most of Wednesday’s action was going according to the Wild’s plan.
It wasn’t turning pucks over to fuel the Jets’ offense. The team didn’t look overwhelmed by the emotion and energy in the building. And it was mostly disciplined, committing just two penalties.
“I think in reality we had seven pretty bad minutes from the time we scored the second goal to the third goal,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “But it was a pretty even game after that, and I think we can play a lot better.”
It’s possible, though, the Wild changes up its look Friday. Asked if he could tweak the defensive pairings, Boudreau said, “We’ll consider everything.” He also mentioned winger Tyler Ennis as an option up front.
“Tyler played really good for us in the last [regular-season] game and a lot of games down the stretch, and he’s a veteran,” Boudreau said. “He could play. [Defenseman Ryan Murphy] has played really well for us, too. Like both teams, we’ve probably both got a lot of bumps and bruises because it was fairly physical for a game for us last night. We’ll have to wait and see tomorrow how everyone feels.”