The road woes the Wild experienced throughout the regular season carried over into the playoffs, plunging the team into an 0-2 hole against the Jets.
But if its performance on home ice also translates, the team could start to claw its way back into its first-round series during Game 3 Sunday at Xcel Energy Center.
“It can be a big turning point in the series,” goalie Devan Dubnyk said. “We get tonight, and it sets us up for the next game. We weren’t able to do what we wanted to do in Winnipeg, so this is a huge game for us. We need to go out there and not be afraid to just go play and trust that we’re a great hockey team and we can beat these guys, and I’m looking forward to seeing that tonight.”
The Wild went 27-6-8 at home during the regular season, a source of confidence as it tries to recalibrate after 3-2 and 4-1 losses in Winnipeg earlier in the week. But just because the venue is changing doesn’t mean the Wild expects a different effort out of the Jets.
“Winnipeg had a great road record, and I don’t think they’re going to change their game whatsoever,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “So we can’t be anticipating, ‘Oh we’re at home. We’re going to have success.’ We have to be ready to play the best game of the series so far.”
Before the game, the Wild recalled forwards Kurtis Gabriel, Justin Kloos and Kyle Rau and goaltender Niklas Svedberg from Iowa of the American Hockey League. But don’t expect the team’s lineup to change.
Projected Wild lineup:
Zach Parise-Mikko Koivu-Nino Niederreiter
Jason Zucker-Eric Staal-Mikael Granlund
Jordan Greenway-Matt Cullen-Charlie Coyle
Marcus Foligno-Joel Eriksson Ek-Daniel Winnik
Jonas Brodin-Matt Dumba
Nick Seeler-Jared Spurgeon
Carson Soucy-Nate Prosser
Projected Jets lineup:
Kyle Connor-Mark Scheifele-Blake Wheeler
Nikolaj Ehlers-Paul Stastny-Patrik Laine
Jack Roslovic-Bryan Little-Joel Armia
Andrew Copp-Adam Lowry-Brandon Tanev
Josh Morrissey-Jacob Trouba
Joe Morrow-Dustin Byfuglien
Ben Chiarot-Tyler Myers
Key Wild numbers:
77: Saves by Dubnyk through two games.
62: Points on home ice during the regular season.
2: Goals in two playoff games for winger Zach Parise.
57:01: How much defenseman Matt Dumba has played in the series.
6-6: The Wild’s all-time record in Game 3s.
Key Jets numbers:
7-9-2: The Jets’ all-time record at Xcel Energy Center.
84: Shots for the Jets through two games.
2: Assists for winger Jack Roslovic in his playoff debut Friday.
20-13-8: Winnipeg’s record on the road during the regular season.
20.8: The Jets’ efficiency on the power play on the road in the regular season.
Latest on the Jets:
The snow and wind that pelted the Twin Cities Saturday stalled the Jets’ arrival, as the team ended up returning to Winnipeg Saturday after landing in Duluth. The team did touch down in Minneapolis Sunday morning. It did not hold a morning skate. But the Wild doesn’t believe the quirky travel schedule will have an effect on its opponent. “I’m sure it’s not the first option of travel that they’d like to take,” Dubnyk said. “But at the end of the day, as soon as you land and get to the hotel, you forget about that pretty fast. I can’t see it being anything more than something to talk about.”