Heading into the Second Round series with the Blackhawks, the Wild had a new hope in this year’s installment of the matchup.
The club felt their alliance was stronger than in years past, as did many around them, strong enough to make a real move against Chicago. The anticipation was building to Death Star proportions.
But in Games 1 and 2 of the series, when the puck finally dropped, Chicago — led by a dark-helmeted Corey Crawford in goal — put the Wild in an extremely familiar position: down 2-0 in the series as it shifts back to the State of Hockey.
It’s been a long wait — and the end is still another day away.
The Wild and Blackhawks will get underway tomorrow at 8:30 p.m. State of Hockey time. But puck drop feels like it's inching closer at the pace of a child learning to walk for the first time; minor steps forward seem like huge accomplishments.
“Well, at least we get to travel there today,” Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo quipped to open his press conference Thursday.
When he took a hot lap prior to puck drop in Game 3 in the first round of last year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, Charlie Coyle already had chills.
With the lights low and the crowd crazed with a fever that only got stronger as the night wore on, the atmosphere was unparalleled — and that was before the National Anthem. Undoubtedly, Xcel Energy Center lived up to its name.
The Wild made the third round a little more interesting at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft in Philadelphia.
The 2014-15 season may still be a good three months away, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start looking forward to it now.
A few members of the Wild’s organization are still in action this weekend as forward Erik Haula skates with Team Finland in the International Ice Hockey Federation World Tournament in Minsk, Belarus. Prospect Zack Mitchell is also still on the ice, battling for a Memorial Cup with the Guelph Storm at this year’s tournament in London, Ontario.
While we’ve had a good week to recover from the jarring end of Minnesota’s season that was Patrick Kane’s overtime goal in Game 6 of the Second Round — clearly not still mulling over that one at all — there are a few members of the Wild’s organization still in action.
It’s do-or-die. It’s win-or-go home. It’s a must-win scenario. The Wild’s back is against the wall. The team is on the brink of elimination.
As the Wild preps for Game 6, its third elimination game in these playoffs, it’s staving off the physical and mental grind that comes with a run towards the Stanley Cup.
In the State of Hockey, it’s hard to forget how fantastic Game 3 was Tuesday night.
It was a close game for 40 minutes until some highlight reel goals gave Minnesota the momentum to surge towards a 4-0 win. We have a series on our hands now, folks.