Trailing two games to none in their best-of-seven series, the Minnesota Wild are in search of a way to beat the mighty Chicago Blackhawks.
The Blackhawks beat the Wild 4-1 Sunday night in Chicago behind a dizzying, dominating display of championship-caliber hockey. Minnesota could have easily won Game 1 of the series if not for a soft Chicago goal and a couple of bad breaks in the third period. Game 2 was a totally different story as Chicago dominated from start to finish.
The easy takeaway: Minnesota had a bad game; much like they had in a Game 4 loss to St. Louis in their opening playoff series. The Wild responded from that loss with back-to-back wins to advance to the second round.
But this series feels a little bit different. Just look at how confident a columnist at the Chicago Tribune is:
In a Game 1 loss, the Wild wanted to skate with the Hawks. But that didn’t work.
In a Game 2 loss, the Wild wanted to adopt a more defensive style. That didn’t work, either.
In Game 3, maybe they should go no-huddle.
According to the Star Tribune, Wild coach Mike Yeo reacted to the Game 2 loss by saying, “I don’t know what team played that game, but it wasn’t us tonight.”
Yeo added that the players weren't mentally prepared for the game. "It was a between-the-ears thing tonight," he said.
Yeo gave his players Monday off to mentally prepare for Game 3.
History favors Minnesota in Game 3
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the Blackhawks are 1-9 – including seven straight losses – in Game 3 of playoff series' over the last seven years. On the flip side, the Wild are an impressive 4-0 in Game 3s the last three postseasons.
... But Games 5 and 6 favor Chicago
The scary part of history is that even if Minnesota evens the series at two games apiece, Game 5 is back at United Center in Chicago – and Chicago doesn't lose in Game 5. Under head coach Joel Quenneville, the 'Hawks are an incredible 14-0 in Games 5 and 6.