They’re down 2-0 in their series and have been outscored 7-2 over the last 80 minutes as the gulf between two teams that went to overtime in Game 1 widened substantially in Game 2.
So it’s no surprise how the Minnesota Wild spent Easter Sunday — making promises and plans to resurrect their post-season.
They’re not dead yet, but if they lose to the Colorado Avalanche on Monday and fall behind 3-0, it’ll take a miracle to avoid another first-round playoff exit.
“Our main focus is Game 3,” said winger Matt Cooke, as the Wild returned to Minnesota. “We can’t look any further than that. We can’t go back. Two losses are two losses. They make the series seven games for a reason. Game 3 is the most important game.”
The hope in Minnesota is that a simple change in venue will be enough to change the Wild’s fortunes. But right now it looks like the only way that’s going to matter is if the Avs forget Nate MacKinnon back in Denver.
On his way to becoming the best 18-year-old playoff performer in NHL history, MacKinnon, with seven points in two games, has become a very serious problem for which Minnesota can’t find an answer.
Avs coach Patrick Roy, loathe to single out individuals ahead of the team at playoff time, had no choice in this case.
“I have to admit that as an 18-year-old it’s pretty impressive,” he said, before the Avs left for the airport in Denver. “Seeing him play with that maturity and that intensity on every shift, this is pretty special.”
Roy is loving the way his whole power trio of MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Paul Stastny, who have combined for 17 points, are running Minnesota’s show.
“The moment we put Paulie and Landie with him in that first game, they started to click. They’ve been playing really well together and it’s fun to watch them, it’s very impressive.
“Like it or not, when you’re in the playoffs, your best players have to be your best players in order to have a chance to win and these three guys have done a super job.”
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Now it’s up to the Wild to do something about it. Last change, which would enable head coach Mike Yeo to sic a checking line on MacKinnon, might help.
“It’s obviously a possibility that we’ll assemble a line to go out there and doing the job against those guys,” he said.
“But the way that our lines are assembled, I’m not afraid of anybody playing against anybody if we’re on our game.”
And, if crowd noise is worth anything, the State of Hockey will do its part to help.
“We should be excited about the opportunity to play in front of our fans,” said Yeo, who has no choice but to subscribe to the theory that you’re never really behind in a series until you lose a home game.
“Our building is going to be rocking. (The Avs) did what they were supposed to do as a good team, they took care of winning the first two, now we have to go and take care of our business.”
The prospect of playing the next two games on the road doesn’t bother Colorado in the least. They were 26-11-4 at home this season and an identical 26-11-4 on the road.
“I’m sure (the Wild) are happy to be going home, but at the same time we’ve been playing good on the road all year,” said Roy. “We just need to continue to do what we were doing during the regular season and play with the same urgency we did in the last two games.”