Loss to Blackhawks puts Wild in familiar situation

Loss to Blackhawks puts Wild in familiar situation
May 11, 2014, 11:45 pm
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Nina Falcone

The Minnesota Wild have been in this position before, down 3-2 in a playoff series before heading back to their home ice. 

They weathered that storm in the previous round, defeating the Colorado Avalanche in seven games.

Now they hope to do the same against the Blackhawks.

"Our heads aren't down; the series isn't over," Charlie Coyle said following Minnesota's 2-1 loss in Game 5 Sunday night. "We just have to focus on our next one, that's all."

[MORE: Bickell, Toews lead Blackhawks rally to defeat Wild in Game 5]

The Wild bottled up all the momentum they gained in Games 3 and 4 at home and unleashed it at the start of Sunday's game.

They dictated the majority of the first period as they went on to take a 1-0 lead against a Blackhawks team that had yet to record a win after trailing at the start of a game since the playoffs began.

But despite the confidence the Wild felt after the first 20 minutes, they couldn't match Chicago's intensity in the second period.

"Our group played well in the first period and we had chances," said Erik Haula, who scored Minnesota's lone goal of the evening. "(The Blackhawks) played really well in the second and it was a sword fight in the third."

While the Wild aren't thrilled about the situation they're in, they're confident a return to Minnesota will give them that boost they lacked throughout parts of Sunday's game. 

After all, the Wild — like the Blackhawks — remain undefeated in front of a home crowd this postseason.

"Last series I thought we did a great job staying positive despite the fact we were down 2-0," head coach Mike Yeo said. "We still believe that we can win, and that to me is the No. 1 thing."

[WATCH: Toews puts Blackhawks ahead on the rebound]

Now the Wild are preparing to bring the intensity and desperation that will be absolutely necessary for them in Game 6. The team said they learned plenty of lessons throughout their series against the Avalanche and believe that experience will pay off for them in their matchup ahead.

So in one sense, the Wild being in a similar situation can help their confidence as they head back home, considering things worked out well for them the last time around.

But at the end of the day, being down 3-2 in two consecutive series is just plain tough. 

"It's similar in that it sucks," Yeo said when comparing Minnesota's two series this postseason. "It sucks to lose a game like this, and obviously when you lose, you're frustrated, you're mad. But I think there's been enough in this series where we should feel confident still. That said, we also recognize that we'd better be ready."

Now his players are ready to do just that.

"It's never a good feeling to lose, but it's just like last series," Haula said. "We just have to go back home and get it done."