NHL: Wild Need to Get Back in Game 2

Charlie MitchellContributor IApril 11, 2008

It was amazing. It was surreal.

After the PA system had quieted down and the opening video montage had stopped, it was official, the game had begun. And the Minnesota Wild came out on fire!

The first period was perhaps the best first period of hockey the Wild could have possibly played without scoring a goal.

The Wild had 11 shots compared to Colorado's 2. Their power play was clicking, their passes were being completed, everything was going right except the puck bouncing past Theodore. 

The second period had an odd flow to it. The Wild were still dominating play, but were losing 2-0 even though Colorado had only gotten seven shots on net. 

Then the adrenaline must have worn off, because the third  period was dominated by Colorado, yet the score was tied at the end of regulation 2-2. 

Then in overtime, Joe Sakic skated quietly in front of the net, picked up the rebound and sent the crowd home unhappy.

Joe Sakic... still! Doesn't he have an AARP meeting to attend, he has been in the league longer than some of these kids have been alive. 

Somehow, the Minnesota Wild were beaten at their own game. Coach Jacques Lemaire is notorious for being patient with his teams and waiting the opportune moments to score. Lemaire always seemed to have an impeccable grasp on the quicksand that is playoff hockey. He understood that sometimes the harder you fight, the more energy you waste, the quicker you fall.

But notoriety unfortunately, doesn't always equal results. This time it was Colorado, coached by Joel Quenneville, who waited patiently for the bounces and pounced whenever they could. 

The Wild's strategy was working though. Colorado just forced them to the outside and let them shoot from the point all night long. That's exactly when the Wild needed to move to the inside open man.

They found this man in third period with Todd Fedoruk who could have a read a book and then score he had so much time.

The Wild aren't done for yet though, not by a long shot. If a number of first period bounces had gone their way, we would have been looking at a blowout game.

In Lemaire every Wild fan trusts, so it should be exciting to see how his team will change in tonight's game. The Wild need this win so they can head back to Colorado with a split in the series. 

Minnesota is running particularly thin on the blue line with the absence of Kurtis Foster and Nick Schultz. Brent Burns, who had the best overtime chance of anyone, seems to be making up for it with a huge increase in his ice time.

The Wild need to finish these games in regulation or their blue line will have a harder time finding Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg. 

The Wild showed they can be the better team when they want to be, they just have to do it for the full 60 minutes. You do that by winning one shift, which leads to one period, which leads you to the next series.