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Wild want to oust Blues at home, avoid Game 7

by Dan Myers /

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild will look to capitalize on their latest momentum and close out the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of their Western Conference First Round series at Xcel Energy Center on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, TVA Sports, SN).

The Wild lead the best-of-7 series 3-2 and have a chance to wrap things up prior to Game 7 for the first time in their history following a 4-1 victory in Game 5 at Scottrade Center on Friday.

It's the second time Minnesota has led in the series following a 3-0 win in Game 3 on Monday. The Blues answered with a 6-1 victory here in Game 4 on Wednesday.

"I think it's a good chance for us with that fresh in our minds. I think maybe it'll be good us to see what happened the last time we got a lead and maybe were a little bit comfortable," Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk said. "But that's just a lesson that's fresh in our minds and we can use and feed off of to make sure we're ready for the game tomorrow."

Sunday presents an opportunity for the Wild to avoid having to go back to St. Louis for Game 7.

"It was a good time to have that lesson," Wild defenseman Jordan Leopold said. "For that sake, we're going to be ready to go at home tomorrow. It's about being at home, being in front of our home crowd and bringing our road game."

Momentum has been tough to capture in this series. The teams have traded victories, with Minnesota winning Games 1, 3 and 5 and St. Louis Games 2 and 4. Neither team has been particularly good on home ice.

"I don't believe in [momentum] in a playoff series, it's one thing you try and stress, I don't think it carries from one game to the next. Not against good teams, not against a team like we're facing," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "I think both teams have proved they have been able to collect themselves, and that's even from period to period. Establishing momentum through the course of a game is something that's very important. Maintaining it is something that's very important."

The Wild overcame a bad start in Game 5 when the Blues scored first and had the first eight shots on goal. But in every other game in the series, the team that scored first scored second and won the game.

Leopold, a veteran of 76 playoff games, said he knows closing out the Blues on home ice will be a much more palatable task than having to do so at St. Louis in Game 7 on Wednesday.

"Coming from experiences, yeah, it's a pivotal Game 6 for us," Leopold said. "We're at home in front of our fans and we have so-called momentum. It's nice to come home. We have a job to do. We've got to stick with our game, our identity of the past few months and just roll from there."

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