We have Game Two this evening and I can't contain my excitement, but it is a reserved excitement because of the Wild's performance in Game One. Game One saw good physicality that the Wild weathered and responded to on the scoreboard rather than get chippy. Sure, Matt Cooke, who is a thorn and many fans' sides, was active in after-whistle scrums. His assist on the Kyle Brodziak goal in the second period was an overall nice play, and a major defensive lapse for the Avalanche.
We can expect the same kind of opening period for the Avs in Game Two and expect them to try and be consistent with that approach. The key for the Wild will be to keep pucks deep in the Avalanche zone and go to work on their defensively deficient defensemen. For the balance of the 2nd and until the 13 minute mark of the 3rd period, that is exactly what the Wild did.
According to the advanced stats, the Wild had a 47 percent puck possession rate after the first. Now at 54 percent after strong second.— Chad Graff (@ChadGraff) April 18, 2014
A good solid forecheck can quiet the Pop Machine's crowd and keep the fans from potentially ratcheting up the energy in the building. It also lessens the amount of shots that Ilya Bryzgalov would have to face. I wouldn't say that Bryzgalov was particularly fabulous in game one, but I won't say that he was to blame either.
The other key for the Wild will be to absolutely forget about Game One. Sure they mostly played well, and had some very bad plays that resulted in goals against, but if, and only if, they can put the game behind them and come out of Game Two with the series tied at one heading home for the next two games, they can lessen the meaning of the Game One loss.
And while the Wild know they can play better, you better believe they caught the attention of the Avalanche and Patrick Roy will be looking for his team to play better as well. It is the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the Wild are very much in this series if they can pull out a solid win tonight.