Friday, May 9, 2014

Keep Your Foot On The Gas

Photo: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
Stop me if you heard this before: Wild trail the Blackhawks 2-1 in their series, with the momentum on their side after an impressive Game Three win. They can get back in the series with a Game Four win, and make it a best of three with the high powered Hawks.

Yeah, we heard that before. It was the exact same story last year. The Wild lost the first two games to Chicago, then rebounded with a Game Three win thanks to a Jason Zucker overtime goal.

The problem last year was that the Wild came out guns blazing in Game Four,could not score, got frustrated,  gave up, and allowed Chicago to walk out of St. Paul with a 3-0 win to take a 3-1 series lead. The Blackhawks closed out the series two nights later back in Chicago with a 5-1 victory.

The moral of the story is simple: Don't take your foot off the gas pedal.

Last year, the Wild did not have the talent to to keep their foot on the gas. This year, however, is a much different story.

In their Game Four last year, the Wild threw out a fourth line of Stephane Veilleux, Torrey Mitchell, and the injured Jason Pominville (had Pominville played, Mike Rupp would have been on the line). This year, they will have a fourth line of Cody McCormick, Kyle Brodziak, and Dany Heatley. That there would have been an effective third line for last year's squad, and all that gets them this year is a spot on the fourth.

The Wild are still a bit under-matched as a whole, but they have the tools to pull off another upset. They just have to keep their foot on the gas.

Chicago is a team that can take your one mistake, and turn it into a goal. They thrive on mistakes, and they destroy you if you are not giving your best effort. Just look at the Toews goal in Game Two. Its a perfect example. Make a mistake and not hustle on the same play, and you are down a goal.

As noted today by Puck Daddy, the Wild are a force to be reckoned with at home. They have thrived quite well off the home crowd, and have channeled that into a 4-0 record at Xcel Energy Center. Why? Because they have kept the "pedal to the medal".

That has to be their mentality tonight. If not, then might as well pack it in for the summer because Chicago will tear you a new one in Game Four and Game Five.

And that's not how we want this team to go out, is it?

Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell

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