Wild looks to exorcise demons from haunted Game 2 history

The Wild will look for their first 2-0 series lead in franchise history on Tuesday night.
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Joel Eriksson Ek

Joel Eriksson Ek's overtime goal in the Minnesota Wild's Game 1 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights had plenty of significance. Not only did it allow the Wild to draw first blood in the best-of-seven series, it helps relieve some pressure from a franchise that is littered with Game 2 disasters. 

Minnesota owns a 2-12 record all-time Game 2 of a playoff series and ahead of Tuesday's matchup in Vegas, the Wild will look to earn their first victory in a Game 2 since 2008.

That game was a rollercoaster against the Colorado Avalanche where the Wild held a 2-1 lead late in the third period. Colorado's Milan Hejduk scored with 44 seconds remaining to force overtime before Keith Carney scored at 1:14 of the extra frame to give Minnesota a 3-2 victory.

Since that win, the Wild have lost nine straight Game 2s. While many playoff games come down to a bouncing puck, the Wild have been demolished in those losses.

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The biggest problem with the Wild's Game 2 woes has been their offense. After scoring a pair of goals in a 2013 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks and a 2014 loss to the Avalanche, the Wild scored exactly one goal in each of the next six Game 2s.

That streak was snapped in the Wild's 4-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks last summer, though it would've been extended if not for two goals from Kevin Fiala in the final 2:29 of the third period. 

And while this season's version of the Wild feels like a different beast, there are plenty of reasons they could be in for a similar fate.

Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was spectacular in Game 1, making several highlight-reel saves to keep Minnesota off the board in regulation.

Cam Talbot was just as good for the Wild, making 42 saves in his fifth career playoff shutout – and he may be just what the Wild need to keep the franchise's Game 2 misery from spiraling further out of control. 

But doing what Talbot did in Game 1 two games in a row seems unlikely considering Vegas was the highest-scoring team in the NHL this season. If the Wild comes out with a slow start similar to Game 1, it has the potential to get ugly. 

Regardless, this is a Wild team that has bucked trends all season long. If they can find a way to get pressure on Fleury and take an early lead, it's possible the Wild can earn their first 2-0 series lead in franchise history.

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