It all comes down to this.
It sounds like a simple feat to win two games in a row, but we've seen this Minnesota Wild iteration do it on 12 separate occasions this season. That includes the eight-game win streak from the end of November into December. They’ve got it in them.
The Wild will call on Kirill Kaprizov for a repeat performance from Game 5 — where he manufactured two goals on the powerplay — but they can’t just rely on him to generate all their offense. He’s accounted for over 40 percent of the Wild’s goal output this series, which isn't a recipe for success. We need the rest of the offence to pitch in.
The GREEF line of Joel Eriksson Ek, Marcus Foligno and Jordan Greenway need to be who they typically are; a force on offence, suffocating on the forecheck and stalwarts on defence. They’ve been held pointless in the last two games as a group; they need to show up in tonight’s elimination game.
Kevin Fiala and his running mates Matt Boldy and Frederick Gaudreau need to be the secondary scoring threat that made this team look like contenders down the stretch. Fiala’s struggles in this series have been well documented by us here at Hockey Wilderness, but maybe the two assists he registered last game — his only points in the series — can get the fire burning again. Fiala is a streaky player, and up until this point, his inevitable cold stretch came at the worst time.
The St. Louis Blues will come into this game without two significant contributors on their blue line in Torey Krug and Marco Scandella. Their blueline is hampered as it has been practically all series, but the Wild haven’t been able to take advantage of that as the Blues have made adjustments — even playing seven defensemen in Game 4 — to mix up their gameplan.
The Wild ran the Blues’ near-Vezina calibre goaltender Ville Husso out of the building, but the Blues adjusted and handed the reins to Jordan Binnington.
The adjustments have saved the Blues in this series, as the Wild have been the better team for the majority of the series. It’s time for Dean Evason to make the adjustments, and he alluded to such at practice yesterday.
#mnwild coach Dean Evason said “for sure” the team will make some changes for Game 6 vs. #stlblues. Evason didn’t reveal what those adjustments will be but said, “Hopefully we’ll choose the right ones.”— Sarah McLellan (@sarah__mclellan) May 11, 2022
The season is on the line. Let’s see what this Wild is made of.
Puck drop is at 8:30 p.m. CT. Let’s play hockey.