The Minnesota Wild’s playoff slogan is, “It’s about winning.”
Well, Wednesday night would be a great time to do so.
Is Game 2 a ‘must-win’ scenario in the best-of-7 series? Maybe not.
But the Wild need to flip the script.
Without a victory, the pressure and questions that began building after the St. Louis Blues took the series opener, would only get bigger. Wild coach Dean Evason said on Wednesday morning that Marc-Andre Fleury will get the start in net for the second straight game,
“We have shown our bounce-back, our resolve, our ability to forget and move forward, has been absolutely fantastic,” Wild coach Dean Evason said during a media availability “And it clearly has to be when the puck is dropped (Wednesday) night.”
The Wild’s inefficient special teams was a difference in Game 1. Minnesota came up empty on six power play opportunities while the Blues went 2-for-6 on their chances with the man advantage.
“Special teams killed us. 5-on-5 we were real good,” Evason said. “Real good in all three zones on 5-on-5. We just didn’t play there. It was 4-on-4 a ton with the power play and penalty kill and it’s no secret, (special teams) have not been good this year. If we’re going to have success, obviously they’ve got to get better.
“There’s going to be adjustments made on both our special teams cleary to what (the Blues) are doing, to what we didn’t do to have success,” Evason said. “But we’ve got to stay as much 5-on-5 as we can.”
The Wild also will need to do a better job of keeping their composure in Game 2. Minnesota showed its frustration in extra hits after the whistle, and then there was the uncharacteristic play by defenseman Jared Spurgeon that resulted in a hefty fine on Tuesday.
“We didn’t hold our composure,” Evason said. “It’s easier – it’s way easier — to hold your composure when you have the lead. When you don’t have the lead, it’s a little more difficult. You’re frustrated and you let your emotions get the best of you, and you retaliate instead of initiate. (The Blues) did a good job. They’ve been through it — a lot. Right?
“We should know better. We’ve been through it too,” Evason said. “But we didn’t catch it early enough and it bit us. You have to learn from your mistakes. We’ll learn from our mistakes (Wednesday) night.
The hope is that happens. If not, the Wild’s chances of living up to their playoff slogan becomes a lot more difficult for this series.