ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — This isn’t the way you’re supposed to go into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, without Zach Parise, Thomas Vanek and nursing a five-game losing skid.
As Mike Max reports, it is the hand the Wild have been dealt and they must deal with Dallas, the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.
Erik Haula could only watch practice and hope to return. That’s the backdrop for the Wild heading to Dallas: Don’t allow your mind to get caught up in who is not with you and what the last two weeks have looked like.
“Finishing the way we wanted to is behind us. It doesn’t really even matter, we put that behind us and we’ve got to focus on what’s ahead of us,” Jason Pominville said.
But it’s more than that. It’s Dallas, and they aren’t playing to get to the playoffs. They’re playing to win it all.
“They’re really good. I mean you’ve got to know it. You’ve got to make sure you know who you’re out on the ice against,” coach John Torchetti said. “I’m sure they’re going to look for different matchups against us.”
Which takes us back to a game plan. Not the Xs and Os, the mentality that leads to physicality.
“We’v got to limit their grade A opportunities and make sure we’re physical in front of the net, in the corners and make sure that they feel us,” Nate Prosser said.
But this is the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It’s do or die, and Dallas has one of the better offensive machines in the league. So what we’re saying here is, it’s not just about a hot goalie, it might have to be about a hot goalie for the Minnesota Wild to have any kind of chance.
Yes, this one lands on the shoulders of Devan Dubnyk, who wants to make it not about him, but about the team.
“Turn pucks over and go the other way and that’s got to be the mentality that we have,” Dubnyk said. “Look at this as a good challenge. We’ve shown all year that we can beat these guys.”