ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — If only the Minnesota Wild could order up another blizzard.
The Winnipeg Jets arrived in St. Paul just hours before the start of Game 3 Sunday night, and certainly looked like a jet-lagged, travel-weary group as the Wild skated circles around them in a 6-2 win.
But it wasn’t just the Jets playing poorer. The Wild also simply looked a lot better. WCCO’s David McCoy tells us about their adjustments.
Where was that team the first two games? The Wild suddenly looked like a physically imposing, offensively competent team in Game 3. And don’t just chalk it up to home ice or the Jets’ re-rerouted jets. Sunday night, Bruce Boudreau called it desperation.
“I think we played a lot more physical, we kind of gave the first push last night. And I think that was key,” Jordan Greenway said. “Going forward, I think keeping that physicality and wearing them down, I think more space will open up for us like it did last night and we’ll get more chances.”
That physicality, Jordan Greenway said, created more space in which the Wild offense got to operate, hence the deluge of goals. The Wild also made some seemingly simple puck-support adjustments, and they paid off in a big way.
“I think you’re always trying to change inside of a series, and when you get familiar with a team. But at the same time, I think it comes down to winning those 1-on-1 battles,” Mikko Koivu said.
So was it adjustments in their strategy and tactics? Or adjustments in their attitude? Yes. So now how do they carry that over for Game 4?
“Well we’re still in a desperate situation. We were last night, we are tomorrow here. If we lose tomorrow, we’re still down 3-1 going into Winnipeg,” Boudreau said.
“Winning 1-on-1 battles, just outworking them. I think that’s going to be the key to success for us, and keep our foot on the pedal. Keep going, all night, all 60 minutes,” Greenway said.
It’s the only way that’s worked so far. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday for Game 4. Game 5 is back in Winnipeg on Friday night.