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Wild aren't worried, expect to rebound in Game 2

by Brian Hedger / NHL.com

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks have more Stanley Cup Playoff experience, but the Minnesota Wild learned some valuable postseason lessons of their own the past couple of seasons.

That's why the Wild aren't showing much concern heading into Game 2 of this Western Conference Second Round series on Sunday at United Center (8:30 p.m. ET; CBC, NBCSN, SN360, TVA Sports 2).

After a 4-3 Game 1 loss on Friday, the Wild feel better equipped to handle adversity than they did in 2013, when the Blackhawks eliminated them in a Western Conference Quarterfinal that lasted five games.

The Wild were upbeat and confident after practice Saturday despite losing their seventh straight playoff game here. Chicago has eliminated Minnesota from the postseason the past two years.

"We're not concerned about what's happened in the past," said Wild forward Zach Parise, who had a goal and an assist in Game 1. "It's a new team. It's a whole new playoff round. We're not sitting here thinking, 'Oh, here we go again.' We've got another chance [in Game 2] to win a game here and try to get back to Minnesota with a split."

Last year during a six-game second-round series, the Blackhawks won the first two games in Chicago and lost the next two at Xcel Energy Center. Chicago would like another chance to be up 2-0 heading back to Minnesota, rather than risk a recurrence of what happened in the 2013 Western Conference Semifinals against the Detroit Red Wings.

Detroit won Game 2 to split in Chicago and then won Games 3 and 4 at Joe Louis Arena to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 series. The Blackhawks came back to win, but it's not a road they want to travel again.

Minnesota, which trailed 3-0 in the second period before tying Game 1, is planning to match Chicago's energy level from the start.

They want to put pucks deep into the defensive zone and forecheck the Blackhawks defensemen. The Wild will be on the attack, rather than looking to survive, like they did two years ago in the same situation.

"[It's] little things like that, just being hard right off the bat and making things tough and kind of setting the tone," Minnesota forward Charlie Coyle said. "I think that's what we're going to do is kind of get in our game and kind of shove it in their face."

They're also going to put goalie Devan Dubnyk back in net. The Wild haven't lost consecutive games in regulation since he arrived Jan. 14 in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes.

After allowing four goals in Game 1, including three in the first period, Dubnyk said he's only focused on Game 2, much the way he rebounded after a 6-1 loss in Game 4 of Minnesota's first-round series against the St. Louis Blues to win the next two.

"Like I've said all year, we've done a good job of putting things behind us and moving on, win or loss," Dubnyk said. "It's the same situation [now]. We did it well last series after a loss, getting prepared for the next game, and now we're just concentrating on continuing to get better in here game-to-game. It's a big one on Sunday and we'll do our best to get that one."

The Wild can adopt a measured approach because of their accrued playoff experience. They know how valuable road wins are, with an opportunity to steal home-ice advantage Sunday.

"Last year we proved that being down 2-0 doesn't mean the end of you," Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said. "We were able to come back, but certainly we are putting a great emphasis on that game [Sunday]. It's a much different situation if you can grab a game and go back, as we saw last series."

After failing to do that the past two years, they're convinced this time will be different.

"We're confident in the group we have now," Coyle said. "We've gained a lot of experience. Two years ago, we had a lot of young guys in this locker room who didn't have playoff experience at all. Gaining that in the last two years has helped us."

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