After winning 12 of 13 road games to end the regular season, the Minnesota Wild entered the postseason with a legitimate chance of playing for a Stanley Cup. After all, when you can win on the road in the playoffs, you can do anything – and that’s exactly what the Wild did in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series against St. Louis, beating the Blues, 4-2, on April 16.
“If you don’t have home-ice advantage, you’re going to have to win at least one road game a series, so the Wild obviously did that,” Wild television color analyst Mike Greenlay said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “They were able to win the first game of the series. People talk about home-ice advantage – and yeah, granted, there’s some good things about it, but there’s a lot of teams winning on the road, so it’s not exactly a new thing happening in the National Hockey League. The Wild are just trying to take advantage of that. Once you technically steal home-ice advantage, you got to try to keep it. So hopefully the Wild are obviously cognizant of that, and tomorrow would be that game that they need to hold serve, so to speak, at home.”
Game 4 is Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. ET.
After taking Game 1, Minnesota lost Game 2, 4-1, but beat St. Louis, 3-0, in Game 3. Jason Pominville has two postseason goals for the Wild, while Zach Parise and Mikael Granlund have also gotten in on the act.
“Pominville obviously brings a great wealth of experience – and that’s always huge, especially in the playoffs,” Greenlay said. “It’s great to have some young guys or to have some guys that have never played in the playoffs step up because that’s what you need. But at the end of the day, it’s going to be your veterans and guys that have actually been through some of the battles and been through some of the playoffs and actually seen what it can be like. Parise is obviously one of those. Pominville is another guy that brings a leadership role. He’s never short of shooting the puck on the net. When you put him on a line with Granlund and Parise, they can be deadly – like they were (Monday night). When guys like Pominville get loose, they create. Guys like Parise never stop working. And Granlund has shown some good signs also in the playoffs. It’s great to have players like that.”
Devan Dubnyk, meanwhile, has been phenomenal in goal for the Wild. He has saved 59 of the 64 shots (92.2 percent) that have come his way.
“Dubnyk has been one of the great goaltending stories this season in the second half and one of the great stories overall,” Greenlay said. “He played for some teams that weren’t always defensively conscious, and he even had decent numbers then. But to come to a team like the Wild and to come into the circumstance that the Wild were in and just run off the roll of games that he did, it’s phenomenal. It’s truly one of the great stories. It’s one that you don’t want to end because it’s running along so nicely right now.”