The Wild exhibited the desperation needed in Game 3 to prevent itself from falling further behind the Jets in assembling a decisive 6-2 win.
But it’ll need to recapture that same urgency – and possibly more – to even the series when the puck drops on Game 4 Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Xcel Energy Center.
"We're still a desperate hockey club," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "It's sort of a must-win here."
Expect a better effort from the Jets, who stumbled for the first time in the series Sunday. They felt their speed declined in that game, so look for them to try to pick up the pace Tuesday – improvement the Wild is bracing for in Game 4.
“That’s what we need to expect,” goalie Devan Dubnyk said. “That’s why we keep saying we need to get better. We need to get better than last game, better than the games before. We want to continue to build because that’s what they’re going to do. They’re a good team, very good team. They’re deep. So we’re going to need to continue to bring better as well because we know they’re going to.”
The Jets will have a new look, with defenseman Tucker Poolman pegged to step after Tyler Myers suffered a lower-body injury Sunday following a collision with winger Marcus Foligno.
Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice disagreed with the lack of supplemental discipline for Foligno, which Boudreau called “gamesmanship.”
“It wasn’t a bad hit,” Boudreau said. “He fell. I think Marcus is a rough-and-tumble player, but I don’t think he’s gonna try anything where if I fall and I hit him on the right side of his knee or his hip or wherever it was, that it’s gonna damage him. I think it was all gamesmanship on [Maurcie’s] part and he’s looking for an edge, which coaches are supposed to do but not supposed to do at the same time.”
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-Tucker Poolman
Key Wild numbers:
3: Goals in three games this series for winger Zach Parise.
4: Assists in the series for captain Mikko Koivu.
106: Saves for goalie Devan Dubnyk, which leads the NHL.
115: Shots-against the Wild is tops in the league.
4-8: The Wild’s all-time record in Game 4.
Key Jets numbers:
59.5: Efficiency in faceoffs for center Adam Lowry.
4: Points in the series for winger Patrik Laine.
.847: Save percentage for goalie Connor Hellebuyck.
3:40: Hellebuyck’s goals-against average.
6-1: The Jets’ record when scoring first in their last seven games.
Latest on the Jets:
The Jets are expected to be without Myers, who’s day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Winnipeg recalled defenseman Sami Niku from the American Hockey League Tuesday morning, but Tucker Poolman is likely to slot into the Jets’ back end. Poolman logged 24 games with the Jets this season, chipping in a goal and an assist. He has never played in the playoffs. Winnipeg is already missing defensemen Dmitry Kulikov (upper body) and Toby Enstrom (lower body).