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Wild, down 3-0, focused on Game 4, one at a time

by Dan Myers /

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild will look to draw upon their experiences from the regular season as they try to become the fifth team in NHL history to win a best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series after trailing 3-0.

With the Chicago Blackhawks in firm control of this Western Conference Second Round series, the Wild have rallied around a common theme from mid-January: They've been here before.

On Jan. 14, under .500 and in last place in the Central Divison, the Wild traded for goaltender Devan Dubnyk; they finished the regular season 28-9-3 to make the playoffs.

Now the Wild will need to rally one more time to join the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers and the 2014 Los Angeles Kings as teams to climb out of a 3-0 series hole in the past six years. The Kings did so in the first round against the San Jose Sharks and went on to win the Stanley Cup.

The others to do it are the 1975 New York Islanders and the 1942 Detroit Red Wings.

Game 4 is Thursday at Xcel Energy Center (9:30 ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports 2).

"I think we can draw from how we did it," Wild forward Kyle Brodziak said. "I think when we were facing what we were facing in the middle of January, if we would've at that point looked at the big picture, I think it would've probably seemed pretty daunting to come back. But I think the way we went about it was important. We just set everything else aside and took it one game at a time.

"When you sit back and you look at the big picture of everything, then you start thinking, you get the negative thoughts of how daunting a task it is. And if you're able to find a way to keep your focus on one thing at a time I think it makes it a little easier for everybody."

Wild coach Mike Yeo said Minnesota's focus has to get smaller and that they take a period-by-period approach to avoid getting overwhelmed by the task at hand.

"We can't be looking at bigger-picture stuff," Yeo said. "It's going to be how we start the game, the mindset that we have and the way that we approach it."

Despite playing perhaps its best game of the series so far, Minnesota could not find a way to beat Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford in a 1-0 loss in Game 3.

Crawford has led the Blackhawks to two playoff series wins against the Wild and is 11-3 with a 1.60 goals-against average and .942 save percentage in 14 Stanley Cup Playoff games against them.

"He's probably feeling really good today about the way he played, and deservedly so," Minnesota forward Zach Parise said. "But we'll just try to keep challenging him a little more and try to break through and get that first one and then go from there."

In adopting the one-game-at-a-time approach, there is one word that Yeo said he hates. It's what he will use as his own motivation to "coach the best game [he] can" on Thursday.

"I've never been swept and I don't think our players have. That's pretty motivating in itself," Yeo said. "We wouldn't even be here if we didn't have that kind of pride. How we approach it right now is what matters most. For me, I'm just doing everything I can to make sure that our guys are ready."

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