Forget about hypothetical must-win games, the Minnesota Wild is facing a real deal win or go home scenario tonight when they host the Colorado Avalanche in Game 6 of their best-of-seven playoff series.
A win tonight would force a Game 7 back in Denver, Colorado on Wednesday.
Game 5 was a meltdown. The officials missed an obvious offside call that led to the Avalanche tying the game in the final minutes of regulation. 18-year-old Nathan MacKinnon then scored the game-winner a little more than three minutes into overtime.
Defenseman Ryan Suter said the missed call was a "damn shame." But that was Saturday. It's Monday, and the Wild has moved on.
“We already put that behind us,” captain Mikko Koivu said of the missed call, according to the Star Tribune. “Everybody’s making mistakes. So do we.”
The Avalanche could get a huge boost if leading scorer Matt Duchene returns from a knee injury that kept him out of the first five games of the series. Avs head coach Patrick Roy hinted that Duchene could play, but nothing will be determined until after Monday's morning skate. If he does return, he'll likely play on the fourth line and be used on the top power play unit.
Minnesota's biggest advantage is playing in front of its home crowd.
The home team has won every game of the series. Minnesota completely dominated Colorado in Games 3 and 4 in St. Paul.
"We had two good looks, I can tell you that," Roy said of playing in Minnesota, according to the Denver Post. "I'm not guaranteeing any results, but we know how it's going to be over there. We know how their fans are going to react, we know how they're going to play. There aren't going to be any surprises. If they beat us, they beat us."
The Wild has planned a party outside Gate 2 at Xcel Energy Center beginning at 5:30 p.m. There will be live music, drinks and a pig roast. KSTP has more info on the pregame party. The game starts at 8 p.m.