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Wild lament misfires in Game 1

Minnesota vows to bring the attack to Winnipeg in second outing

John Woods / The Canadian Press</p><p>Winnipeg Jets' Adam Lowry and Minnesota Wild's Eric Staal collide during first period of NHL game one playoff action in Winnipeg on Wednesday.</p>

John Woods / The Canadian Press

Winnipeg Jets' Adam Lowry and Minnesota Wild's Eric Staal collide during first period of NHL game one playoff action in Winnipeg on Wednesday.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/4/2018 (241 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

They see it as a missed opportunity to steal a game they maybe didn’t deserve to win. But the Minnesota Wild are vowing to come better prepared for what they face from a talented Winnipeg Jets team and a rabid fan base looking to put them in an even bigger hole.

“The message to the team I’ll keep to myself. Dissecting the tape, we did a few things that we could definitely improve upon,” Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau told reporters Thursday as they prepared for Game 2 tonight at Bell MTS Place.

“I think in reality we had seven pretty bad minutes from the time we scored the second goal to (Winnipeg’s) third goal. But it was a pretty even game after that. And I think we can play a lot better.”

Just like the Winnipeg Jets, the Wild had several players making their NHL playoff debuts Wednesday night.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/4/2018 (241 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

They see it as a missed opportunity to steal a game they maybe didn’t deserve to win. But the Minnesota Wild are vowing to come better prepared for what they face from a talented Winnipeg Jets team and a rabid fan base looking to put them in an even bigger hole.

"The message to the team I’ll keep to myself. Dissecting the tape, we did a few things that we could definitely improve upon," Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau told reporters Thursday as they prepared for Game 2 tonight at Bell MTS Place.

"I think in reality we had seven pretty bad minutes from the time we scored the second goal to (Winnipeg’s) third goal. But it was a pretty even game after that. And I think we can play a lot better."

Just like the Winnipeg Jets, the Wild had several players making their NHL playoff debuts Wednesday night.

Boudreau and several of his troops believe that inexperience showed at times with costly errors.

The Jets outshot the Wild 40-20 and carried the play for much of Wednesday night.

"I think we can be better. Obviously, we got ourselves the lead in the third and from there, I think we took our foot off the gas a little bit. They came at us and were able to get two to get ahead. Overall, as a group, we can be a little more assertive, a little better and we’ll look to do that," said Minnesota’s leading scorer, Eric Staal, who had 42 goals and 34 assists in the regular season.

His top line with Jason Zucker and Nino Niederreiter had a very quiet night in Game 1 and were kept off the scoresheet.

"Well, they have to become more of a factor. They were only involved in two potential scoring chances. Your most offensive line has got to be as good as their best offensive line. There’s room for improvement," Boudreau said.

Zucker took responsibility, saying he needs to bring much more.

He had 33 goals and 31 assists during the regular season.

"I think our line was a bit hesitant. I think we sat back a little bit more than we usually do. I don’t think we were very aggressive. It started with me. I don’t think on the forecheck I was very good, but it’s things we can fix overnight, which is good, and get right back after it," Zucker said.

"I think there were opportunities to be more aggressive and we weren’t. I think there were opportunities to make some plays that didn’t happen as well. I think it all kind of went hand in hand."

The atmosphere inside Bell MTS Place was a topic of discussion Thursday and appeared to be a factor, especially when the Jets managed to quickly tie the game in the third period after Minnesota had briefly grabbed the lead. It was all Jets from that point on.

"It was a fun building to play in. They obviously play well in here and the atmosphere was good. I think we’re all really excited to get home to Minnesota," Zucker said.

No doubt tying the series 1-1, versus facing a 2-0 deficit, would make the homecoming much sweeter.

"They were amped up and excited, as will our fans be for Game 3. Playoff hockey is always another level," said Staal, who was born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ont.

Boudreau hinted at a couple of possible lineup changes, but didn’t give any specifics, while saying the highs and lows his team went through can be important for future success.

"There’s a lot of inexperience out there and they’re only going to get better by playing, so hopefully, they learned about the loudness of the building. They learned about those things (Wednesday) night, and they’ll be better (tonight) for it," Boudreau said.

One potential switch could be for forward Joel Eriksson Ek, who was demolished by a Dustin Byfuglien hit during the game. He didn’t skate Thursday and his status for Game 2 is up in the air.

"It was a great hit, and it put him out for a couple minutes, and more interesting enough is our captain and our leader (Mikko Koivu) came right back and did the same thing to Perreault and said, ‘We can hit, too.’ That’s what leadership does," Boudreau said.

mike.mcintyre@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @mikemcintyrewpg

Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre
Reporter

Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.

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History

Updated on Friday, April 13, 2018 at 6:10 AM CDT: Final

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