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Wild return home looking for win vs. Blackhawks

by Dan Myers /



Chicago leads best-of-7 series 2-0

The Minnesota Wild hope history will repeat itself Tuesday as their Western Conference Second Round series against the Chicago Blackhawks shifts to Xcel Energy Center.

Trailing the Blackhawks 2-0 in a Stanley Cup Playoff series for the third consecutive year, the Wild enter Game 3 knowing they won in that situation each of the first two years.

Last season, Minnesota also won Game 4 to tie the series at 2-2. For now, the Wild are focused on the first task at hand: Finding their own game after a discouraging 4-1 loss to Chicago in Game 2 at United Center on Sunday.

"I don't know if it was Chicago's game. It just wasn't our game," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "I know it's frustrating to be down 2-0, but at the same token, the fact of the matter is it's not like we played our game. If we're going to be frustrated with anything, we should be frustrated with ourselves a little bit here. It would be far more frustrating if we played two good games and came out on the short end. When you look at it, we're one of eight teams still competing here and so we've still got a heck of an opportunity that we have to get excited about that challenge [Tuesday]."

Minnesota captain Mikko Koivu said the Wild remain confident despite their deficit in the series. They have plenty of experience digging out of similar holes, winning a first-round series last year against the Colorado Avalanche in seven games after losing each of the first two games.

"I think the experience is always good when you've been through that and you know from the experience. A lot of guys have been here for that," Koivu said. "But at the same time, you need to create those experiences again. It's a new year, a new series, so we can't just think that it's going to happen."

The Blackhawks are hoping for more of the same in Game 3. Patrick Kane scored two goals, and Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp each had one in Game 2.

"I think we're getting the goals that we need from different guys," Toews said. "I always tell guys: Last year [Sharp] maybe, the year before it was myself. Guys always expect to produce and score goals. You've just got to keep reminding yourself that they're going to come at the right time."

Chicago is in a familiar position up 2-0 in the series, and each of the past five times they've gone ahead two games, the Blackhawks have won the series in fewer than seven games.

"You have to win the next one," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "You'd like to win a game on the road. We've had success at home, but we've felt this has always been our toughest game to have success in, is that third game, the first in their building most of the time. [We] know they're ready, excited, [but] don't give them a chance to get back in the series. It puts them in a situation where they have to win."

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