ST. PAUL, Minn. One of the key factors many used against the Minnesota Wild entering the playoffs was the lack of postseason experience from the young Wild.
With starting goaltender Niklas Backstrom being injured in pregame warmups, the lineup for Game 1 of Minnesota's series against the Chicago Blackhawks included goaltender Josh Harding and his one career playoff game. The defense included Ryan Suter (39 postseason games) and five players making their NHL playoff debuts. The forward group included another four players making their debut.
The Wild's experienced players have tried to mentor the young group along the way, such as veteran Matt Cullen, who now has 66 playoff games under his belt and has won a Stanley Cup. Cullen, 36, remembers when he was the one being mentored.
"You can just say it," Cullen joked about being old. "You never really think about it. It just happens. It happened so fast. I still remember being a rookie in Anaheim with (Paul) Kariya and (Teemu) Selanne...