Quality over quantity.
Less is more.
Bend, don't break.
Whatever the strategy is called, it worked for the Wild in Game 5 against the Golden Knights.
"This time of year when you come out with the win, doesn't matter how you do it," winger Zach Parise said.
Despite mustering a franchise playoff-low 14 shots, half of which came in the first period, and getting pelted with almost triple that by Vegas, the Wild survived the blitz 4-2 to shrink its deficit to 3-2 in the best-of-seven showdown.
But as this first-round series swings back to Xcel Energy Center for Game 6 on Wednesday night with the Wild facing another must-win situation, the team realizes it needs to iron out the unevenness to prolong its season yet again.
"We can't give them the opportunities that we did," coach Dean Evason said. "When we get into our defensive zone coverage, we gotta get the heck out of there. We got stuck a little bit more than we have prior games here.
"We have to get better than we did [Monday] night in order for us to continue to have success."
By scoring four goals to equal what it accomplished in the previous four games combined, the Wild finally had an offensive breakthrough in these playoffs — even if play was mostly concentrated at the other end of the rink.
The team rarely invaded Vegas territory in the second period, getting outshot 22-1 while the Golden Knights dominated possession of the puck. Fourteen of those shots came without interruption, a run that was fueled by the Wild regularly icing the puck to bring the faceoff back in front of goaltender Cam Talbot, who posted 21 of his 38 saves on 40 total shots in the second period alone.
And although the Wild cracked only once under the pressure, a power-play goal by Vegas' Alec Martinez, spending the majority of the period in its own end was risky.
"We've got some things that we have to correct, for sure, certainly through the neutral zone, limiting their speed," Evason said. "Obviously, we turned the puck over a few times that we haven't done a lot through this series which contributed to their rush opportunities [Monday] night. That has to get corrected."
Another way to defend better is to defend less.
Cue the now-rekindled Wild offense.
After going 120 minutes, 36 seconds without a goal, the Wild snapped that funk in the first period when rookie Kirill Kaprizov flung a rising shot by Marc-Andre Fleury for his first of the playoffs. Perhaps even more impressive than the finish was the timing of it, just 52 seconds after Mark Stone opened the scoring for the Golden Knights.
"It's always helpful when you can come back and have a huge response like that," winger Jordan Greenway said. "It was huge."
The tie turned into a 2-1 advantage for the Wild when winger Zach Parise batted a carom off the end boards off Fleury and into the net, an example of the reward that can be reaped by getting close to the crease.
"He's not going to give up weak goals," Evason said of Fleury. "You need a bounce, a break, a fortunate situation in order to score on him. We've got to continue to do those things even more."
Then, before the first period ended, Greenway widened the Wild's lead when he delivered the eventual winning goal by burying the second rebound off his initial shot — this after Greenway ushered the puck through the neutral zone and directly to Fleury's doorstep.
"What we liked about that goal is that he doesn't fly by and leave the front of the net," Evason said. "He stops and is in control of his body and has great hands to smack it home. We need more of those type of goals, for sure, those type of breaks. Hopefully, we can continue to score."
Those three tallies were the most the Wild had recorded in the first period in its postseason history, and the team needed all of them to fend off the Golden Knights. Vegas' comeback bid, however, didn't officially deflate until center Nico Sturm's bank shot off the boards rolled into an empty net with 39 seconds to go in the third period.
At this stage of the season, the destination is more important than how the Wild arrived at it. But where the team goes from here will decide how long the journey will last.
"We got the win," defenseman Ian Cole said. "That's what matters. We are going to go home for Game 6 and try to get another one."