Wild Ready To Extend Series
Is this year's Wild team different from the recent past Wild playoff teams?
We are going to find out beginning tonight as they host the Stars with their backs to the wall. This appears to be a different team with a stronger lineup top to bottom, of course the huge absence of Joel Eriksson Ek not withstanding.
The lack of special teams performance though, is a heavy dose of more of the same. The onus is on the players but the coaching staff is also on the hot seat to push the right buttons.
Quicker shot selection and more traffic in front of Jake Oettinger will go a long way in determining the Wild's success. Better attention to detail in the faceoff circle and aggressive D zone pressure on the PK are imperative.
There is a chance that Joe Pavelski returns to the Stars lineup and if he does the Dallas offense gets even better.
Evason is going to work his lines to see if he cam get his top scorers going, but it does not require wholesale changes. It needs to be all about attention to detail in every aspect of the game.
Marcus Foligno will be on fire, but expect him to stay within his game. After the NHL admitted neither of his penalties in game four should have been called and his major should have been a two minute tripping minor. Moose was sent to the room and the Wild played without his services for the majority of the game.
I don't subscribe to the fact that "if" and "but" with those calls. The Wild need to step up with their mantra " Grit First."
We have seen it in much of this series and Dallas has flexed its strength to nullify that enough to hold the 3-2 series lead.
A seven game series was anticipated by most before the series began. Game six on XCEL Energy Center ice in front of the raucous Minnesota faithful should provide for a great atmosphere for the Wild to take care of their business and send it to the ultimate one game takes all showdown Sunday in Dallas.
It's always Hockey Day in The State of Hockey!