Wild hoping home ice cools Hawks
BY MARK POTASH firstname.lastname@example.org May 4, 2013 8:32PM
Blackhawks Jonathan Toews, out works Minnesota Wild Devin Setoguchi, for the puck. 3rd period. Friday May 3, 2013 at United Center. I Scott Stewart~Sun-Times
Updated: June 6, 2013 7:20AM
ST. PAUL, Minn — The Wild isn’t dead yet.
‘‘Because we’re down 2-0, it doesn’t mean this series is over,’’ said Wild coach Mike Yeo, a former Pittsburgh Penguins assistant. ‘‘I, myself, have been a part of series where we’ve come back from being down 2-0 and I know others on our team have as well.
That said, the series isn’t trending well for the Wild.
‘‘We lost Game 1 [in overtime] and were saying it could have gone the other way. And we got crushed,’’ Yeo said.
After a 5-2 loss in Game 2 at the United Center on Friday night, the Hawks have the Wild on its heels.
‘‘You could tell they brought a different level from Game 1 to Game 2 and we didn’t do that,’’ Wild forward Zach Parise said.
‘‘They’re No. 1 in the league for a reason,’’ forward Devin Setoguchi said.
But the Wild still feels the gap between the teams is not as wide as it might look.
‘‘I just think we have to be a little sharper,’’ said Parise, who had seven shots on goal without success Friday night. ‘‘They don’t give you a lot of chances. But each game we’ve had some good ones that we didn’t finish.
‘‘That’s the difference in the game right there. Game 1,
I had one in overtime and Game 2, I had about 15 whacks in front of the net. We’ve got to put those in. There’s really no excuse.’’
Despite the apparently widening gulf between the two teams, Yeo intimated he had a solution to what is ailing the Wild. But that’s his secret.
‘‘Let’s just say it’s a lot of things,’’ Yeo said. ‘‘I’m going to be a little vague regarding some things. The bottom line is we have identified some things and discussed them. And we’ve worked on some things. We’re just real excited to get a chance to play again [Sunday].’’
Backup goaltender Josh Harding doesn’t appear to be one of the problems. ‘‘Josh was fantastic [in Game 2],’’ Yeo said. ‘‘We hung him out to dry.’’
Starter Niklas Backstrom practiced again Saturday and will be a game-time decision.
The Wild is counting on home ice to make a difference. This will be the first playoff game at home for the Wild since 2008.
‘‘I think this place is going to be rockin’,’’ Yeo said.
‘‘Hopefully, it’s good,’’ Parise said. ‘‘It’s a pretty fun building to play in down in Chicago — it gets pretty loud. I would assume ours will be the same. Everyone’s excited about that.’’