ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild forward Nino Niederreiter says once he stopped thinking about the goals he wasn't scoring, he started scoring the goals he wanted to score.
By letting his mind go, he ended up getting to where he wanted to be all along.
Now, Niederreiter is having an impact on the Stanley Cup Playoffs, excelling as one of the Wild's most physical forwards as they battle the Chicago Blackhawks in a Western Conference Second Round series. Minnesota will look to even the best-of-7 series at two games apiece with a win in Game 4 on Friday at Xcel Energy Center (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS)
"This is a guy that, coming in here this year and you look at where he has come as far as what type of player he has become, and it is a real compliment to him," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "We've had him on our fourth line and we've had him on our first line. We've had him on a checking line and we've had him on a scoring line, and he has really learned what type of player he has to be, the way he needs to play to be successful night in and night out.
"He's not a fun guy to play against when he is on top of his game. He's physical, he's strong on the puck, he's got the ability to make plays. He also has a good awareness of how to play without the puck. This is a guy that we have seen an awful lot of growth from as far as learning what his game is, but also just what it means to be a pro, and what it means to compete and be successful at this time of year."