Two hours before Game 7 in Colorado, Nino Niederreiter sat alone in the stands. Just a man, his thoughts and his hockey sticks. It’s a routine he started a few years ago and does before every game; sitting in the seats, taping his sticks and getting focused.
The Wild left St. Paul, Minn. on Saturday with a very different feeling than when they arrived earlier in the week. “Obviously our guys are feeling pretty good right now,” coach Mike Yeo said.
in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Keith Ballard helped the Minnesota Wild limit the Chicago Blackhawks, which is a big part of the game plan. “I think with their personal … there’s more shots that become dangerous. They don’t always have to be odd-man rushes or back-door plays or stuff like that – they’ve got a lot of skill in their lineup,” Ballard said.
History has a tendency to repeat itself. For the third playoff series in a row, the Minnesota Wild went into Game 3 at Xcel Energy Center looking for their first win, being down two games to none. And thanks to a pair of Finns, the Wild got that victory on home ice, defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0. Chicago now leads the series two games to one with Game 4 on Friday night.
The Minnesota Wild are at a point where they are counting on the home ice carrying them. “That’s the plan. We know in the first round we played pretty well here and we’re excited to play here. But, you know, that doesn’t guarantee much,” said forward Zach Parise.
The Minnesota Wild are looking to bounce-back after Friday night’s loss and win one on the road. They skated their way into the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and are now facing the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks. Game 2 is Sunday night in Chicago.
Chicago Blackhawks center Andrew Shaw is questionable for Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Minnesota Wild on Sunday because of a lower body injury. Coach Joel Quenneville said Saturday he doesn’t expect Shaw to be out for an extended period.
After a thrilling overtime win Wednesday night against the Colorado Avalanche, hockey fans have been rushing to get their hands on anything with a Wild logo on it. “This city is pumped. I mean this state’s pumped. We are ready to go,” said Corey Reding, one of many fans with an arm-full of merchandise Friday at The Hockey Lodge inside the Xcel Center.
In Game 6 of the series versus Colorado, the best players for the Minnesota Wild proved to be just that. Zach Parise had a four-point night (2G, 2A) including the game-winning goal. Mikko Koivu and Ryan Suter added two assists as Minnesota defeated Colorado 5-2 to even the series at 3-3, forcing Game 7 in Denver.
The Minnesota Wild are a little weary and worn out after winning a grueling seven-game series. There’s no time to rest, though. Not with the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks waiting on deck.
Mikael Granlund is the soft spoken, high-profile number-one pick who’s putting up numbers for the Minnesota Wild. He has thrived this play-off series, and maybe because he loves the play offs.
Zach Parise scored early and late on tipped shots, and the Minnesota Wild tacked on two empty-net goals for a 5-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night that sent the first-round playoff series to a decisive Game 7. Parise and Mikko Koivu each had two assists. The teams will meet again in Denver on Wednesday night, with the winner taking on the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference semifinals.
Center Matt Duchene has returned to the Colorado lineup. Duchene’s status for Game 6 of the first-round series at Minnesota was determined just before faceoff on Monday night. Coach Patrick Roy said earlier in the day that Duchene would have to be cleared by the team’s medical staff after taking part in warmups in order to play.
The Wild are trying to put Game 5, and what could have been, in their rear view mirrors Monday night before they head into Game 6 of the series. The Wild will take on the Colorado Avalanche in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup playoffs at the Xcel Energy Center 8 p.m. Monday night.
The Wild face off against the Colorado Avalanche Saturday night for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and the game is in Colorado. The Wild haven’t won a roadplayoff game since April 14, 2008. The game was at Colorado, of all places.