By Adam Somers | Minnesota Wild
ST. PAUL, Minn.
-- For veterans such as Keith Carney and Pavol Demitra, Game 1 was one of those games where they would have liked a second chance. After only mustering a combined one shot and a -2 rating, the team’s most experienced playoff performers enjoyed a better return performance Friday night to avoid flying to Colorado with a mountain to scale.
Heading into the third period, the Wild found itself trailing for the second time in as many games. Despite only one power play chance through the first two periods, the home team entered the final stanza with a man-advantage, and Demitra called for a bank shot and fired a rocket off the crossbar into the net to send the Team of 18,000 into a frenzy.
“This is the playoffs, every single chance you got you have to put it on net,” said Demitra.
After allowing the Avalanche to tie the game in the final minute of regulation, it was the veterans who made sure the team stayed focused and left the misfortunes behind.
“That helps, having guys who have been through it and realize you have to stay in the moment,” said Carney. “Not let some unfortunate situation or happenings get to you.”
Carney put his words into action and notched a game winner that will go down in Wild lore. While the goal tied up the series, it also solidified a veteran-led victory that helped sway the balance in the early going of the series.
With 25-year-old Mikko Koivu
putting together a fine series, and another young gun, Pierre-Marc Bouchard
, adding an assist Friday, this is still a relatively young team. It was evident, though, in Game 2, that it will take not only the freshness of youth, but also veteran savvy to lead the Wild through the many tough turns of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
“I think it just shows how strong the team is,” Demitra said of Game 2. “This definitely a building win for us and we just have to keep going.”