Wild looking to Xcel at home

Wild players are hoping a couple of home dates can get them back into their series with the...

Wild players are hoping a couple of home dates can get them back into their series with the Blackhawks. The Wild trail 2-0. (Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports)

RANDY SPORTAK, Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:18 PM ET

ST. PAUL, MINN. - It says energy on the building.

The Minnesota Wild hope it means they will regain enough energy to win inside their home barn.

After two losses to start the Western Conference semifinal series against the Chicago Blackhawks, Wild head coach Mike Yeo’s plan for his players was as much to recharge as much as anything else.

The desired effect would be to more focused when the series resumes Tuesday night at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

“I feel last game, it looked like maybe a lack of energy caused some things tactically where we weren’t sharp enough,” Yeo said Monday. “Puck support, in particular for me, and just sort of the spacing between our players, whether it’s in our checking game or whether it’s when we have the puck. Again, a little more jump, a little more in our step, and the difference ... is big.”

Big enough to erase a 2-0 deficit for the second consecutive Stanley Cup playoff series?

Time will tell, although that would seem a Paul Bunyan-sized order.

The Wild have managed to be tied in the third period of both losses to start the series, but the defending Cup champions from Chicago pulled away for three-goal victories on both occasions.

“We definitely haven’t shown what we’re capable of,” winger Charlie Coyle said. “We haven’t been on our game. We haven’t had that grittiness that we brought last series. I think being at home right now is good for us and usually brings out the best in us, being here and playing here.

“I think the last two games we’ve kind of just got caught playing their way. We need to get back to playing our game and doing what we do best. When we play our game and we’re on, we play good. Sometimes during the game, some things don’t go your way, you kind of change up what you’re doing right. I think we did that the last two games.”

There may be something to the fatigue factor coming into play, combined with an emotional ride.

Minnesota went straight to Chicago and kicked off the second-round series on Friday, two days after claiming Game 7 in Denver in overtime to upset the Colorado Avalanche. A couple of nights in their own beds may do the Wild players a world of good.

“You get so high up after that Game 7 win and you feel great,” Coyle said. “Then you go to Chicago and I don’t know if we just kind of went through the motions or why after that such a high. You lose that game and all of a sudden it feels like it’s the end of the world again. We’ve got to get back to staying on that even-keel and not getting too high or too low. As of right now, we’ve got to put those games behind us.

“There’s nothing to save it for now. It’s end of the year, playoff time. We need to get our energy up. We know we still have it. We’ve just got to go out and prove it and show it. We have to the team to do it. We’ve done it before. We did it last series when things weren’t going our way and we changed things around.”

The Wild certainly need something to change the fortunes. Counting last year’s series, which Chicago won in five games, Minnesota has lost six of seven playoff meetings with the Blackhawks.

“I don’t feel that there’s any mental block with this team,” defenceman Clayton Stoner said. “The last two games, I felt we could win both games and we’re not that far off. It’s not like they’re killing us out there. They’re capitalizing on their chances and we’re not.

“I think the belief in the room is very strong. As much as we respect them, I don’t think that we think they’re a better team.”

ICE CHIPS

Chicago centre Andrew Shaw, who was injured in the series opener and was out of action for Game 2, didn’t make the trip and won’t play Tuesday. “We still think he’s going on the next part of this trip and could play Friday,” head coach Joel Quenneville ... The Blackhawks will not remain in Minnesota between the two games in St. Paul, opting to return home instead … Friday’s Game 4 will start at 7:30 p.m. EST … Wild winger Matt Cooke, suspended seven games for his knee-on-knee hit on Colorado’s Tyson Barrie in the first round, will serve the final game of his banishment on Tuesday.


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