Get your Minnesota Wild Game 7 celebration on, Saint Paul style.
It was a common phrase yesterday, and it was muttered time and again today — facing elimination in Game 6, the Wild has its back against the wall.
Tomorrow night, Minnesota will once again host Colorado in the Playoffs, but there’s an added twist: it’s the first elimination game of the series.
In tonight’s pivotal Game 5, the Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche will leave it all on the table trying to take the lead in the best-of-seven First Round matchup. Each team has taken a pair of games on home ice, with the series spilt, 2-2, and back in the Mile High City tonight.
You only need to glance at their faces to know that Playoff season is over a week old.
Some players are sporting magnificent beards. Kyle Brodziak and Justin Fontaine look like they’ve soaked in all the vitamin manliness possible with full, thriving chin-whiskers. Others are trying their best. With wisps of faint hairs or scraggly patches here or there — it’s playoff beard season.
As Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo put it, it’s felt like a week since Game 3.
It’s only been two days, but it’s the first time this series the Wild has had a two-day break between games. Not only that, everyone has to patiently play the waiting game for tonight’s puck drop at 8:30 p.m.
Coming off a thrilling 1-0 overtime victory in Game 3 on Monday, the Minnesota Wild gets a chance to even the best-of-seven series against the Colorado Avalanche at Xcel Energy Center tomorrow night.
The Minnesota Wild has recalled the following players from the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League (AHL): forwards Raphael Bussieres, Jake Dowell, Tyler Graovac, Carson McMillan and Zack Phillips; defensemen Steven Kampfer and Jon Landry and goaltender Johan Gustafsson.
Bussieres, 20, collected 19 points (5-14=19) and 51 penalty minutes (PIM) in 61 games during his first season with Iowa.
Dowell, 29, had 19 points (7-12=19) and 56 PIM in 57 games with Iowa. He was named the Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award recipient as the AHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of sportsmanship, determination and dedication to hockey on April 11, 2014. Dowell also appeared in one game with Minnesota this season at Chicago on April 3, 2014.
Graovac, 20, led Iowa rookies in scoring with 25 points (13-12=25) in 64 games.
Gustafsson, 22, went 12-20-4 with a 2.98 goals-against average (GAA), a .903 save percentage (SV%) and one shutout in 40 games with Iowa.
Kampfer, 25, recorded 26 points (6-20=26) and 48 PIM in 69 games with Iowa.
Landry, 30, notched 18 assists in 50 games and led the team with a plus-10 rating.
McMillan, 25, tallied 28 points (12-16=28) in 68 games with Iowa and skated in one game with Minnesota vs. New Jersey on Nov. 3, 2013.
Phillips, 21, ranked second on Iowa in scoring this season with 33 points (12-21=33), including four power-play goals in 76 games.
Last night, the Wild topped the Avs in Game 3 in dominating fashion. Minnesota outshot, outhit and simply outplayed Colorado. The only thing missing was a few more tallies on the scoreboard in the Wild’s favor.
The Minnesota Wild returns to the State of Hockey for Game 3 hoping a change of scenery brings a different outcome after falling behind 2-0 in the best-of-seven series against the Colorado Avalanche.