"But this is a team that's not easy to play against. This is a team that checks very well. It's a team that has good depth. They can put out different guys against different lines and different pairings against different lines, and they're very consistent in their checking game. Especially, I think, a large part of that is the way they skate. They play a fast game in how they play without the puck, in the same way that they play a fast game with the puck. So you've got to be ready to make quick plays. You've got to be ready to make fast decisions."
The fact the Blackhawks have beaten the Wild in six of the past seven postseason games the past two years might also be in the back of some of the Minnesota players' minds. If that's the case, they need to start thinking about different things. Heatley, for one, dismissed the stats as irrelevant.
"First of all, I think this year and last year are completely different," he said. "I think we have a different group in here. You guys can run whatever numbers you want, but I think we believe we can beat this team and it starts [Tuesday]."
Added Clayton Stoner: "As much as we respect them, I don't think that we think they're a better team."
If we were Yeo, and we rarely claim to be, we would consider going with John Curry, just to shake things up in net.
That's probably not going to happen, and with rookie Darcy Kuemper still out of the lineup with an injury, it looks like the Wild will sink or swim with Ilya Bryzgalov, who has compiled a 1-4 record with an .830 save percentage in the postseason. In Sunday's game, the Blackhawks were targeting Bryzgalov high, and he has been slow to react high glove side.
The bottom line is that Bryzgalov needs to be better, to steal a game somewhere, somehow, if the Wild are going to get back in this series. Do we think that's going to happen? Hey, it's the playoffs; anything can happen.