In two games of this series, the Wild have been victimized by a game-tying goal in the final minutes and have lost the game in overtime. The Wild now face elimination in a very important Game 6 showdown, in Downtown St. Paul Monday night.
The Avalanche, while being mostly out-possessed and out-played have done one thing better than the Wild in this series - finish. The Avs just plain have been better at finding the back of the net while the Wild continue to struggle wrinkling the twine behind Semyon Varlamov.
Minnesota is 7-4 in games when face with elimination; six of those coming when trailing 3-1 twice in the 2002-2003 playoff run that saw the Wild in the Western Conference Finals. That means that only once since then have the Wild been able to stave off elimination. That was in 2006-2007 when the Wild avoided being swept by the Anaheim Ducks.
The good news coming out of Game 5 is that Matt Moulson and Zach Parise are off the schneid. Both scored their first of the series, and Kyle Brodziak had his second tally of the series. Hopefully, that small boost in confidence will result in them all lighting the lamp in an effort to force a decisive Game 7.
The bad news? Matt Duchene may make an appearance in St. Paul. He's been out of action since an MCL injury sidelined him on March 31st. The dynamic, young forward has been missed in his absence. Avalanche head coach said Sunday, "The tough part right now is he hadn't a chance to have a full practice with us. He had a morning skate yesterday, today it's more shooting, more for the goalies. Tomorrow he's going to have another morning skate and we'll see. We'll see how it goes. He seems to react well to the treatment, he looks good but like I said before we're going to be patient and tomorrow we'll see how he feels after the morning skate and we'll make a decision after that."
The other bad news? The officiating crew of Meier and Sutherland are rumored to be in St. Paul to work Monday's game.
The Wild will have to put the sting of losing another close one that could have seen them heading home with a 3-2 series lead. Mike Yeo in his post-game press conference had this to say looking ahead to Game 6, "We know what's ahead of us here. We knew coming in that we're playing a team that won the division, a team that is an extremely skilled group. Never once did we think things were going to be easy. So the task at hand now is pretty simple. We go and play the same way we did at home."
The home team has yet to lose in this best of seven series, and until there is a Game 7, we hope that the trend continues. Home teams are 18-4 in the wild, wild Western Conference playoffs, and two teams has been eliminated - the St. Louis Blues and the Dallas Stars. The Wild have been nothing short of dominant in front of the raucous Xcel Energy Center crowd.