Wild facing all-important Game 5 in Denver

Minnesota Wild forward Mikael Granlund (left) celebrates with goalie Darcy Kuemper following Game 3...

Minnesota Wild forward Mikael Granlund (left) celebrates with goalie Darcy Kuemper following Game 3 of their series with the Colorado Avalanche at Xcel Energy Center. (Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:38 PM ET

DENVER - It takes four games to win a series and the Minnesota Wild only have three home games, so, if the advanced stats are correct, they need to win at least once in Colorado.

Tonight is their second-last chance.

“We’re probably all feeling good about the fact we’re 2-2, but the bottom line is we have to win a game in this building,” said Wild coach Mike Yeo, who’d rather they didn’t wait until Game 7, if necessary, to break the home-ice trend in this series.

“So this game is obviously very important.”

With each side having won its home games, and with Western Conference home teams 16-2 heading into Saturday’s games, the Wild are well aware that stealing a win from the Pepsi Center will be as difficult as it is necessary.

“I know (the Avs) are going to come out hard and they’re going to push,” said Yeo. “We should be ready for it. If we’re sharp in our game we should be able to weather whatever they bring and give ourselves a chance to play the type of game we want to bring.”

Colorado coach Patrick Roy, who challenged his players to put their manhood on the table in this game, says the first few minutes will show whether or not they respond.

“The start is going to be very important,” he said. “Even if we’re going to be a little bit nervous, or anxious, the start of the game will be very important for us.

“Expect our fans to be on their feet and giving us some momentum. We have to have a good push right from the start of the game.”

The Avs were outplayed terribly in Minnesota, outshot 46-22 in Game 3 and 32-12 in Game 4, leading many to believe that home ice will not be enough to save the Colorado now that the Wild have their feet under them.

Roy prefers to focus on the scoreboard, which showed a 1-0 loss in overtime and a 2-1 loss in regulation.

“We were one shot away from winning Game 3. This is very positive. We were one shot away from bringing Game 4 to overtime. This is very positive.

“Let’s not focus too much on the number of shots we had. Even if we only had 12, we counted about six scoring chances last game. All we needed was to put one in early in the game.

“We need to focus on the things we’ve done really well, and there are a lot of things we’ve done really well.”

DUCHENE VERY CLOSE: Colorado’s leading scorer in the regular season, Matt Duchene, went hard at the morning skate, taking regular line rushes with Ryan O’Reilly and Jamie McGinn. That prompted speculation he’d be back for Game 5, but Roy, who’s been saying from the start of the series that Duchene is a no-go, said it one more time.

“No,” he said. “It was his first day skating with the team. We’ll see how it was. I’ll tell you more tomorrow.”

Robert.Tychkowski@Sunmedia.ca

Twitter.com/Sun_Tychkowski


Videos

Photos