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Facing 2-0 Deficit, Wild Looks to What Comes Next

Solid efforts in Games 1 and 2 not enough to push Minnesota to win column

by Devin Lowe /

ST. PAUL -- Game 1 and Game 2 were wholly different games. But at the final horn, each yielded the same result.

The Wild had home-ice advantage. It had 52 shots on net in Game 1. It was the better team in nearly every category in Game 2, except the one that counted. Minnesota will head to St. Louis down 2-0 in its opening series of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

So what comes next?

"At the end of the day, there's no time for moral victories this time of the year," said Wild forward Chris Stewart. "We're down two, we [dug] ourselves our hole and it's up to us to dig ourselves out of it."

While the games looked vastly different from each other, shades of Game 1 came back to haunt the Wild in Game 2. Blues goaltender Jake Allen was stupendous once again. For the second time in as many games, it was Zach Parise who tied it for Minnesota, this time late in the second frame. St. Louis scored the winning goal in heartbreaking fashion, first in overtime and then with just 2:27 left on the clock.

Over and over, it seemed the Wild brought the same effort and intensity level that it had in Game 1. But the Blues brought just a little bit more, Parise said.

"I thought they played a good game," Parise said. "Felt like they were a little quicker, they were a little better in the D-zone than the first game. I thought they played better and we didn't play as well."

Another second-period goal by the Blues, like the one that put them ahead in the first contest of the series, seemed to force the Wild to take the body over the puck at times as St. Louis' defensemen clamped down. After outhitting the Blues in Game 1 by a 35 to 19 margin, the Wild tallied 38 hits in Game 2.

Minnesota couldn't establish the same kind of forecheck that rolled so effectively in Game 1 once St. Louis scored, as the Blues blueliners boxed out the Wild's forwards and limited Minnesota to just 24 shots, a little over half of what it recorded in Game 1.

Call it puck luck, the will of the Hockey Gods or whatever else lessens the sting, but Minnesota still didn't play poorly, its head coach reasoned after the game.

"Both games were 2-1. If they were 6-nothing or something, I'd say it's going to be a tough task," Bruce Boudreau said. "Not that it's not going to be a tough task. But let's face it: Both games could've gone either way. So I don't see why we can't go in there and do the same thing to them that they did to us."

With his team on the wrong end of two 2-1 losses and a 2-0 series deficit, how can Boudreau help the Wild shift from being so close to being on the right side of the scoresheet?

"There's plays that I'm looking at that we're just missing by a hair," Boudreau said. "If we do these things we're going to get better opportunities. Sometimes you're holding your stick too tight.

"Sometimes you've got your head down and you're not looking at what's around you. There's opportunities out there."

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