The Minnesota Wild have won just seven times in the franchise’s last 25 games in St. Louis. However, nine of those matchups have gone into overtime. Two of those came in April with the Wild losing both.
Minnesota will look to to snap that trend this weekend for Games 3 and 4 after the teams split the first two contests in the best-of-7 first round Stanley Cup playoff series.
Game 3 is Friday night at the Enterprise Center.
“We stay calm and we go about our business,” Wild coach Dean Evason said during a media availability session on Thursday. “We’ve done it all year and we expect to not only do that after a loss or after adversity, but we have to do it now with some success. It’s great we had success (Wednesday) night, but it means nothing today.
“It means we are going in (to St. Louis) tied again,” Evason said. “It means we have an opportunity to compete (Friday) to try and get up one (game).”
The Wild won twice on the road in last season’s opening-round series loss to Vegas, including a victory in a Game 5 to keep their season alive. Minnesota will attempt to find similar success now in a challenging atmosphere. The Blues posted a 26-10-5 mark at the Enterprise Center during the regular season.
And one of the keys is how the Wild deal against adversity and a hostile crowd. And how well the Wild play their style will be a factor as well.
“One of the keys to (Wednesday’s) game was just being us and not getting distracted,” Wild forward Marcus Foligno said on Thursday. “(The Blues) made it 4-1 and 4-2 and we didn’t feel panic on the bench. We knew on the bench we had a cushion but at the same time we kept pressing and then we got the fifth goal.
“You’ve got to capitalize on big moments in the game,” Foligno said. “It think that’s what we did last game and in Game 1, they did a way better job than we did. You’ve got to read and react to what’s out there. That’s what playoff hockey is all about. You can’t go in on what you did last game or what you’re going to do in two games from now. You’ve got to focus on that one.”
For the Wild, getting a split in St. Louis would be fine and a sweep would be tremendous, obviously. Anything less …. right.
But let’s not think of what-if scenarios yet.
Just take things and games one at a time.