That euphoric feeling that came with the Minnesota Wild’s Game 1 sure didn’t last long for.
The tension of the double-overtime matchup made it all but impossible for fans to turn away from the TV.
By the end of the second period on Wednesday, those same people were likely turning off the TV.
But now with the ugliness of the Wild’s 7-3 to loss to the Dallas Stars behind us, the focus turns to Friday night’s pivotal matchup in the first-round Western Conference series that is tied 1-1.
And the question is, how will the Wild respond with two games at home over the weekend?
There is some comfort in that given that Minnesota lost just seven times in regulation in 33 games at the Xcel Energy Center to end the regular season, the third-most victories and winning percentage in the league in that stretch.
“It’s just nice to be back here at home 1-1 an even series. That’s the positive,” Wild coach Dean Evason said during a media availability session on Thursday. “We can dwell on the negative of (Game 2) what have you, but what’s the point? Game’s over. We’ve got (last) matchups, we’ve got, most importantly, our crowd. Our guys are going to be jacked. Looking forward to getting that puck dropped.”
The Wild’s penalty kill also clicked at 83.1% at home, having allowed opponents just 20 goals in 118 opportunities with a man-advantage during the regular season.
And for Minnesota, let’s hope that success rate continues over the weekend.
Dallas is 5-of-11 on the power play in the series, which includes three goals on six opportunities in Game 2.
The Stars offense, behind Roope HIntz, is rolling right now. The Wild surrendered a franchise-record amount of goals on Wednesday, a performance that starting goalie and self-critic Marc-Andre Fleury called “embarrassing”.
The Wild turned to the future Hall of Famer for Game 2 over Filip Gustavsson. While the move followed Minnesota’s regular season-plan of rotating starts between the two, it didn’t prove to be the right move.
It’s a pretty safe call that Gustavsson will be not only be back in the net on Friday night but will stay there throughout the rest of the series.
Dallas grabbed the momentum from Minnesota in Game 2, but that doesn’t mean they have it for good now.
Things can change pretty quickly from one game to the next.
The Wild have found that out.
But Minnesota has also been a resilient team all season.
“You guys who have been around us all the time, you know our group,” Evason said to the media members. “You know the attitude of our group. We talk a lot about one game at a time.
“Game 1 was like how we want to play,” Evason said. “Game 2 was how they want to play. Now we’ve got to get back to where we’re at. Our group, they know if we do the right thing, we’ll give ourselves a chance to win.