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Game 2 Talking Points

Lineup changes, pregame party and more details ahead of puck drop

by Devin Lowe /

Game 2 of the Wild-Blues Stanley Cup Playoffs series begins Friday night at 7:15 p.m. Here are four questions you need answered ahead of puck drop:

1. Can the Wild capitalize on rebounds around the blue paint?

In Game 1 on Wednesday, Minnesota recorded 52 shots on net alone. A good handful of those were second or even third chances left out by Allen in what was perhaps the only aspect of the goalie's game that wasn't airtight.

The Wild knows it needs to do a better job of capitalizing and that, if Allen plays like he played in Game 1, there will be a few chance rebounds ripe for picking.

"I think you just can't steer away from shooting the puck," said Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon. "You're going to have to shoot the puck all the time. I think when a goalie's playing like that, when you stop shooting he gets even better, so we gotta continue to do the same things, but get to the net a bit more maybe and bump in a couple ugly ones."

Part of netting rebounds will rely on how well Minnesota is able to fend off St. Louis' big D-corps, so look for physical scrums and puck scrambles around the Blues' net in Game 2.

"I still think that we passed up a few [rebound chances] that we could have just put in his feet and created havoc in front of the net," said Wild forward Jason Pominville. "They protect the front of their net really well, so we have to make sure we get people there, get traffic and get those secondary chances."

2. Can the Blues generate more offense to relieve the pressure on Allen?

On the other side of Minnesota's 52 shots, St. Louis only managed to put 26 shots on Devan Dubnyk, which is particularly low when factoring in the extra overtime frame. Assuming that Allen can't piece together a 51-save performance in four straight games, the Blues will have to start creating more chances in the offensive end.

Video: Blues Look to Add Offense in Game 2

"We gotta execute better," said Blues coach Mike Yeo. "What they did well is obviously they started with the puck a lot and then not a lot of hesitation on their part. They got into the forecheck a lot. They weren't trying to gain the zone with a lot of controlled entries, they were trying to get in on the forecheck, and they did that effectively and we didn't break it very well. So we have to be better as far as executing coming out of our zone."

3. Will either coach make any lineup changes?

Wild coach Bruce Boudreau will stick with the group he iced on Wednesday, but Yeo will make tweaks as defenseman Robert Bortuzzo returns from injury, bumping Jordan Schmaltz from the lineup. Forward Zach Sanford will also play, and though Yeo wouldn't say exactly who from his forward group will be coming out, it's likely Jori Lehtera.

4. Is the pregame party still on?

As of Friday afternoon, the pregame party scheduled for 4 p.m. will still take place at the Cleveland Circle parking lot across West 7th Street from Xcel Energy Center ahead of the 7 p.m. start for Game 2. Festivities include a DJ, the two-story Michelob Golden Light Mega Bar, playoff merchandise, and NHL alumni autographs. NHL alumni will be signing autographs from 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.

Stay tuned to and the Wild's social media channels for the latest on tonight's pregame festivities.

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