Found April 10, 2013 on Fox Sports North:
ST. PAUL, Minn. The popular refrain from the Minnesota Wild the past two weeks is that the intensity in this pressure-packed, lockout-shortened season has increased to where Minnesota believes it's in playoff mode already. Tuesday's home game, after a three-game road trip, was a tight contest between the Wild entering the game in sixth place in the Western Conference and the conference-leading Chicago Blackhawks. With Chicago already in the playoffs and Minnesota fighting to solidify its positioning, Tuesday's game had the feel of a postseason game in which one mistake was likely to decide the game. Unfortunately for the Wild, they made the crucial error in Chicago's 1-0 victory. "Certainly had that feel," Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said of one mistake deciding the game. "Both teams were playing pretty tight. They had some pretty good rush chances in the first. In the end, I really think the story of the game was we played very hard. I thought we defended really hard tonight, but our execution wasn't good enough." Trying to make a pass to clear the defensive zone, Wild defenseman Clayton Stoner was intercepted by Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa near the blue line, and Hossa finished the play with his 14th goal of the season. Minnesota goaltender Niklas Backstrom made 30 saves as the Wild were outshot, 31-20, in falling to seventh place in the Western Conference after the St. Louis Blues beat Nashville Tuesday night. Minnesota has nine games remaining this season. "No panic," Wild forward Devin Setoguchi said. "It's almost like playoff time. One game, if you lose it, refocus, and you've got to get going again. You don't have time to dwell on it. It stings for the night. You wake up tomorrow, get a practice in, refocus and come back ready for the next day." Minnesota snapped a three-game losing streak with a win Sunday at Columbus and is 9-5 in its last 14 games. The Wild are 13-5-1 at home and host St. Louis on Thursday and the Blue Jackets on Saturday. Chicago owns the league's best record with a deep, talented team that leads the conference in scoring (3.18 goals per game) and has the league's best defense (2.03 goals allowed per game). Minnesota slowed the Blackhawks' offensive attack but couldn't generate consistent offensive pressure of its own. "I thought that we did a pretty good job of keeping them to the outside for the most part and defending for the most part," Yeo said. "I thought we could have been a little bit better on 50-50 pucks and gaining possession a little bit more. But really, at the end of the night, the story of the game was about our execution, our plays with the puck. It was how they scored their goal. It was what prevented us from generating more zone time, more chances." Despite Stoner's turnover, Yeo praised the team's defense. "We've given up one goal in two games, I think you'd sign up for that most of the time," Yeo said. "We've got two guys that we know that can play that aren't in the lineup, too. I'm not concerned about that. We have to generate more. That's about it. And that's a matter of, let's be realistic, too, we played a pretty good team tonight. There's a reason why their record is where it is. We gave ourselves a chance to win the game. Unfortunately, we blinked first." Not blinking or making the key mistake first is more crucial at this time of the season. "You have to have some pretty thick skin to make a long playoff run," forward Zach Parise said. "I think we're getting there. We're starting to play some playoff atmosphere and playoff-type games where there's not a lot of opportunities, not a lot of scoring chances. But on the flip side, we have to win those types of games because that's what we're going to see from now on." Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Harding pleased with first day back at practice

ST. PAUL, Minn. The Minnesota Wild have stuck by goaltender Josh Harding as he deals with multiple sclerosis. Harding might be getting closer to rewarding their patience. For the first time since being placed on injured reserve on Feb. 12, Harding participated in a full practice with his Minnesota teammates on Wednesday, hopefully a sign that Harding's nearing a return. ...

Return date uncertain for Heatley after surgery

ST. PAUL, Minn. With 10 games remaining in the regular season and the Minnesota Wild fighting for playoff positioning, forward Dany Heatley underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery Tuesday.Heatley, who has 11 goals and 10 assists in 36 games this season, was hurt at the end of Wednesday's loss at San Jose in an altercation with Sharks defenseman Marc-Eduoard Vlasic and has missed...

Wild's Heatley has arthroscopic shoulder surgery

Minnesota Wild right wing Dany Heatley has undergone arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder. Heatley had the procedure Tuesday. Coach Mike Yeo said the team isn't sure yet about a timetable for Heatley's return, but the Wild are hoping to have the 32-year-old back in time for the playoffs. He was hurt at the end of Minnesota's game at San Jose last Wednesday when...

The Pominville Trade Process

from Chip Scoggins of the StarTribune, Whatever the proper description, Leipold’s insatiable thirst for winning has compelled the Wild owner to execute some bold transactions, regardless of cost. His latest shrewd move happened last week when the Wild agreed to give up two prospects, a first-round draft pick and a second-round pick to acquire Buffalo captain Jason Pominville...

Dany Heatley to Miss Rest of Season, Playoffs After Surgery on Shoulder Injured in Slash by Marc-Edouard Vlasic

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota Wild right wing Dany Heatley will miss the rest of the regular season and the playoffs following surgery on his left shoulder. The team initially hoped to have the 32-year-old forward back in time for the postseason, but Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher announced just before Minnesota hosted the Chicago Blackhawks that Heatley won’t return this...

Wild expect challenge from red-hot Blues

Prior to facing the Minnesota Wild about a week and a half ago, the St. Louis Blues were clinging to the Western Conference's final playoff spot before a victory got them started on a season-best run. Minnesota's defeat in that contest began a tailspin that's mainly been the result of an offensive slump. Visiting St. Louis looks to extend its winning streak to six games...

Is the Sabres’ Thomas Vanek headed to the Minnesota Wild in the offseason?

The Minnesota Wild are once again a franchise on the rise, after the moves they made in the offseason. Actually, the Wild have a chance to go deep in the Stanley Cup playoffs, based on recent moves they have made. Wild GM Chuck Fletcher went out and picked up Jason Pominville at the trade deadline and the newly acquired forward is now playing on the top line with Zach Parise...

Patrick Sharp returns as Blackhawks blank Minnesota Wild

Patrick Sharp was back and on top of his game as the Chicago Blackhawks blanked the Minnesota Wild 1-0 up in St. Paul, Minnesota. Although he didn’t get on the score sheet, Patrick Sharp tallied the Hawks’ only hit in the 1st period, a big crush on Wild star Zach Parise. What should have fans furious is that Patrick Sharp was the victim of what should have been a boarding call...

Heatley Likely Out Until Next Season

The latest we heard on Dany Heatley was he was having arthoscopic surgery today on his shoulder with hopes he would return for the playoffs.. Now this...   #mnwild forward Dany Heatley is out for the season, likely including the playoffs — Michael Russo (@Russostrib) April 10, 2013 added 8:15pm, via the Wild website.. Minnesota Wild General Manager Chuck...

One mistake is Minnesota's downfall in 1-0 loss to Chicago

The State of Hockey and Chicago are the 'home' to two of the most memorable group of brother's in the history of American cinema.  For the Windy City its Jake and Elwood Blues played by Saturday Night Live original cast members John Belushi and Dan Akroyd.  The pair of trouble-making musicians who go on a mission from God to save an orphanage they once belonged to formed...

Blues-Wild Preview

Prior to facing the Minnesota Wild about a week and a half ago, the St. Louis Blues were clinging to the Western Conference's final playoff spot before a victory got them started on a season-best run. Minnesota's defeat in that contest began a tailspin that's mainly been the result of an offensive slump. Visiting St. Louis looks to extend its winning streak to six games...

John Jaeckel: Hawks@Wild GameDay Preview

Follow me @jaeckel Chicago Blackhawks @ Minnesota Wild 7PM Central XCel Energy Center TSN2, NBCSN, CSN-CH/WGN Radio THE BUZZ Is there a goalie controversy in Chicago? Unless Corey Crawford is nursing a well-concealed injury, there appears to be one. Really, going back to last season, there have been periods where the team appears to play better in front of Ray...
NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.