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POSTED ON Thursday, 05.7.2015 / 2:33 PM CT
By Mike Doyle - Manager of Digital Content / View From the Lighthouse

In a do or die Game 4, the Minnesota Wild will do everything in its power against the Chicago Blackhawks to not, well, be eliminated. The not-dying part includes making a number of changes in its line, trying to take the jumper cables to the offenses.

Charlie Coyle will move to the wing with Mikko Koivu and Jason Zucker. The 23-year-old started his NHL career on the wing with the Wild, but made the switch to center this season.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 05.6.2015 / 3:48 PM CT
By Mike Doyle - Manager of Digital Content / View From the Lighthouse

Even at the lowest point of the season after losing six straight games in early January, the Minnesota Wild has been able to blur its vision of the larger picture, like looking into a 3-D Magic Eye image, so smaller details become pronounced.

Down 3-0 to the Chicago Blackhawks and on the edge of elimination in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Wild knows what it’s up against. However, the Wild isn’t gazing wide-eyed at the enormity of the hole. Instead, the team’s focus is narrowed solely on a single purpose: Game 4 tomorrow night at Xcel Energy Center.

“We’ve got to focus on tomorrow, that’s plain and simple,” forward Matt Cooke said. “The picture is tomorrow, it’s not any larger than that. Doesn’t matter further than that.”

Minnesota came out of the gate fast against Chicago in Monday’s Game 3. However, when the Wild wasn’t able to get anything past goaltender Corey Crawford, the club began to press.

“I thought we started great last game. We had three or four scoring chances in the first three minutes. It didn’t go in and I think we changed,” Cooke said. “We worry too much about scoring the first goal, and we started to take chances which led to us not playing Minnesota Wild hockey, which then brings in frustration.”

After falling behind late in the first on a Patrick Kane power play tally, the Wild had plenty of chance to even the score. Minnesota fired 22 shots on goal in the final two periods but was unable to crack Crawford. The Blackhawks defense collapsed and helped alleviate second chance opportunities.

“The last two periods we pushed hard and just came up short,” forward Kyle Brodziak said. “That’s why it’s extremely important against a team of that caliber that when you have those opportunities you have to take advantage of them.”

While a majority of the attention has been paid on how the Hawks have handled the Wild, the club believes it has better. Minnesota wants to make better decisions with pucks when on the attack, especially in dangerous areas around the blue lines. Forward Zach Parise doesn’t think the team needs to change its system, just execute on its opportunities.

“I don’t think that’s the solution,” Parise said about making changes. “It’s about being better in different areas and doing a little more in the offensive zone and try to break through.”

The Wild can’t try to press the situation against the Hawks, who have showed its ability as counter-punching specialists.

“When we weren’t grabbing the lead in the second-half of the first period, that’s when we started to turn pucks over at the offensive blue line as opposed to continuing to get puck behind their defensemen,” Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said.

“I think that we started to get impatient that we didn’t grab the lead even though we had a great start. That’s counter-productive to creating offense and it’s counter productive to being successful against a team that counters as well as they do.”

Patience is a virtue against Chicago and the Wild has been a model in perseverance all season.

“It’s about going out tomorrow and winning that first period. And if it’s tied after the first, you win the second. We all want to get that goal and make that difference. But be patient and let it come to us,” Parise said. “That’ll help us. Not try and win the game in the first 10 minutes and not try to erase a 3-0 deficit in the first 10 minutes. Win shift and win periods. Hopefully that will add up to winning games.”

Keeping things in focus is something the club has done all season. So, despite being in a hole that looms like the Grand Canyon, the club is keeping things in perspective.

“You don’t want to look at the big picture at this time right now,” Brodziak said. “It’s important for us to come to the rink tomorrow to try to win one hockey game. When you look at the big picture it might seem a little daunting, but I think the only way to go about it is take it one game at a time. Tomorrow night’s the first game, we’ve got to come out with our best and try and get a win and go from there after.”

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 05.5.2015 / 1:22 PM CT
By Mike Doyle - Manager of Digital Content / View From the Lighthouse

It’s no secret, after a pair of losses in the Windy City the Minnesota Wild will have to play better in Game 3 if it’s going to get back into its second round series against the Chicago Blackhawks.

In a 4-1 loss on Sunday, the Wild was careless with the puck, which led to odd-man opportunities for the Blackhawks. Minnesota knows that it has to be more meticulous with plays coming out of the defensive zone and at the offensive zone blue line.

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POSTED ON Sunday, 05.3.2015 / 2:10 PM CT
By Mike Doyle - Manager of Digital Content / View From the Lighthouse

The Minnesota Wild hasn’t lost back-to-back games in regulation since it acquired Devan Dubnyk on Jan. 14. Tonight, the club looks to do something it never has: win a playoff game at the United Center. The Wild will try to split the series in Game 2 against the Chicago Blackhawks in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Forward Erik Haula will enter the lineup for an injured Justin Fontaine, who suffered a lower-body injury in Game 1. Haula hasn’t suited up for a playoff contest this year.

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POSTED ON Friday, 05.1.2015 / 2:56 PM CT
By Mike Doyle - Manager of Digital Content / View From the Lighthouse

“Duh-duh-duh-da-da-da-duh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuuh”

The opening salvo of “Chelsea Dagger” by the Fratellis is instantly recognizable; an earworm of a tune that can echo inside the listener’s head for hours after the needle is pulled from the record. While it’s one of the catchiest hooks in music, it is a switchblade to the ears of visiting hockey teams at Chicago’s United Center. The Dagger is the Blackhawks’ goal song and the 20,000 plus fans in the arena jovially bounce along with the onomatopoeia crescendo when the team scores.

In the last two Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Minnesota Wild has heard the tune 23 times in the Windy City, as the Hawks have won all six contests at the United Center on its way to eliminating the Wild in both meetings.

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POSTED ON Friday, 05.1.2015 / 2:56 PM CT
By Mike Doyle - Manager of Digital Content / View From the Lighthouse

“Duh-duh-duh-da-da-da-duh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuuh”

The opening salvo of “Chelsea Dagger” by the Fratellis is instantly recognizable; an earworm of a tune that can echo inside the listener’s head for hours after the needle is pulled from the record. While it’s one of the catchiest hooks in music, it is a switchblade to the ears of visiting hockey teams at Chicago’s United Center. The Dagger is the Blackhawks’ goal song and the 20,000 plus fans in the arena jovially bounce along with the onomatopoeia crescendo when the team scores.

In the last two Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Minnesota Wild has heard the tune 23 times in the Windy City, as the Hawks have won all six contests at the United Center on its way to eliminating the Wild in both meetings.


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POSTED ON Wednesday, 04.29.2015 / 3:00 PM CT
By Mike Doyle - Manager of Digital Content / View From the Lighthouse

One of the first drills during today’s Minnesota Wild practice at Xcel Energy Center was geared towards the team’s defensemen. A pair forwards swung low at the blue line, picking up speed like a racecar coming around the curve, and attacked two D-men. The blueliners had to backpedal hard, pumping their legs like pistons, in order to maintain the appropriate gap between the hard-charging forwards.

For the Wild D-corps, minding the gap will be one of the many keys to overcoming its Stanly Cup Playoffs nemesis, a skilled and speedy Chicago Blackhawks team. Minnesota doesn’t want to get into an up-and-down firewagon game with the Hawks.


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POSTED ON Tuesday, 04.28.2015 / 3:00 PM CT
By Mike Doyle - Manager of Digital Content / View From the Lighthouse

So we meet again.

For the third consecutive Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Minnesota Wild faces Central Division foe the Chicago Blackhawks. Of course, the Wild looks to alter the outcome this go-round, as the Hawks have eliminated Minnesota from contention the past two postseasons.

For the second time in as many years, the Wild meets the Hawks in Round 2. Last season, Minnesota didn’t have much time to prep for Chicago after defeating the Colorado Avalanche in Game 7 of the first round.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 04.25.2015 / 2:40 PM CT
By Mike Doyle - Manager of Digital Content / View From the Lighthouse

For the first time in franchise history, the Minnesota Wild will have an opportunity to advance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in six games. After a, 4-1, Game 5 bounce back performance, the Wild looks to close out its Round 1 series against the St. Louis Blues on home ice tomorrow.

“We know what the opportunity is,” Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said. “We know what’s at stake here. Far more important for us is that we’re not getting caught up in that. We need to be ready to play a great game.”

Thus far, it’s been difficult to get a pulse on the series. The teams have traded wins in all five games. Yesterday was the first game in which the team that scored first lost the contest. Home ice has been as effective as a rudderless boat at steering outcomes. Momentum between games has carried over like a led balloon.

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POSTED ON Friday, 04.24.2015 / 2:50 PM CT
By Mike Doyle - Manager of Digital Content / View From the Lighthouse

The longer a Stanley Cup Playoffs series goes, the tenser things get. There’s less time to react and no room for error. So, with the series even, two games apiece, the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues are expecting the vice grip to be clamped down even tighter in Game 5.

Of course, Minnesota wants to bounce back from its Game 4 effort, a 6-1 loss on home ice on Wednesday. After winning the third game of the series, the Wild didn’t have a good start and the Blues took advantage, scoring three times in the opening period.

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