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Wild aim to take 2-0 lead vs. Blues home to Minnesota

by Louie Korac /



Minnesota leads best-of-7 series 1-0

ST. LOUIS -- The Minnesota Wild will attempt to take a 2-0 series lead back to Xcel Energy Center when they play Game 2 of their Western Conference First Round series against the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center.

The Blues want to avoid falling behind 2-0. They've won one of 19 series when losing Games 1 and 2, and have been swept 10 times.

The Blues' only series victory when losing the first two games came in 1972 against the Minnesota North Stars, when St. Louis won that first-round series in seven games.

"You can't really put more emphasis on how we've got to play tomorrow," Blues right wing T.J. Oshie said after practice Friday. "There's no point in looking ahead; we've got to start with that first shift and go from there. A good meeting today, good practice, so we're ready to go tomorrow."

The Blues held a full practice Friday and players spoke afterward of not playing poorly in Game 1 on Thursday, a 4-2 Wild win. The Blues believe it's a matter of tweaking a few things that they hope help put them over the top for Game 2, but for the most part they don't want to change too much.

"Just stick with it," Oshie said. "We've talked to a lot of guys already. We've got to get some pucks in there, bear down on some chances. Other than that we played a pretty good game. We've just got to sharpen up a little bit everywhere."

The Wild skated Friday and are eager to grab a 2-0 series lead.

"It shouldn’t be hard to stay hungry," Wild coach Mike Yeo said after practice. "If anything it should fuel it a little bit more. Probably helps that … a little bit. But I think we still recognize the tough challenge we have ahead of us. We got the first game; that’s great. But we know there’s an awful lot of work to be done still."

Yeo said there will be a big response from St. Louis.

"I would fully expect them to come out and play a real physical brand of hockey, try to impose themselves on us," Yeo said. "I expect them to try to throw everything at the net and try to crash the net real hard. I don’t think that’s a real big secret. But we’ve just got to make sure we’re not sitting around watching and waiting to see what they’re going to bring at us. We have our own game plan that we’ve got to make sure we’re aggressive in how we approach ourselves."

Minnesota was 2-for-4 on the power play and held St. Louis scoreless on two power plays in Game 1. St. Louis is 4-for-67 (5.9 percent) on the power play in its past 18 playoff games, dating to Game 5 of the first round against the San Jose Sharks in 2012; in that span the Blues are 5-13.

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