Ilya Bryzgalov was starting to feel the pressure.
After filling in for an injured Darcy Kumper since the third period of Game 7 against the Colorado Avalanche, Bryzgalov said his confidence was "pretty good."
His numbers, though, were not.
In five playoff appearances with the Wild, Bryzgalov recorded a .830 save percentage — the lowest of any goaltender by far this postseason. He faced 42 total shots throughout Games 1 and 2 against the Chicago Blackhawks, allowing nine of them in net. That will wear on a goaltender.
Bryzgalov said Game 3 back in Minnesota would be the Wild's most important matchup of the year and treated it as such, recording a postseason shutout for the first time since 2006.
"Thanks for reminding me. It was a while," he joked with Minnesota reporters following his team's 4-0 victory. "It’s a little bit of relief."
After a scoreless first two periods, things began to click for the Wild. Erik Haula scored the first of the night and Minnesota's crowd finally began lighting up.
"We have a great fan base," Haula said. "We get that little extra jump and a little extra jam."
That was about all the spark the Wild needed, as they went on to tally three more goals — one being an empty-netter — to leave the Blackhawks in the dust.
"We just stayed strong," coach Mike Yeo said. "It was a challenge. You're down 2-0, you know you've got to win."
Like Games 1 and 2, the Wild began to pick up their game as the night progressed, but this time, it finally paid off on the scoresheet. They were happy to get the win and tighten up the series, but they're well-aware that there's still a long way to go as they prepare for Game 4 on Friday night.
"We know we've got another really big challenge. We're not sitting here patting ourselves on the back," Yeo said. "We're still not leading the series, they are, so our goal is to come back and even it up."