Is desperation a strategy? It may as well have been for the Minnesota Wild. Clearly they didn't want to get swept in the Stanley Cup quarterfinals, so they went out and played like it last night. What happens next depends on what the Dallas Stars come up with on Wednesday.
After Patrick Sharp scored twice in the first four minutes, the Stars may have taken their collective foot off the gas. The Wild bore down instead, writes Mike Heika:
Yet as good as the Wild played in forging a 24-17 advantage in shots on goal, the Stars simply looked like they let a golden opportunity slip away.
"We didn't play near as well as we needed to play," Stars coach Lindy Ruff. "That's probably as bad as I've seen us play in maybe five weeks."
Head coach Lindy Ruff admits that the Wild were far too successful in making the Stars play their game, but looks to answer back in Game 4:
"A lot of it was execution, playmaking, our transition game from defense to forwards, we turned some pucks over that cost us goals," Ruff said. "We turned over plenty of pucks. We were just slow, we were slow making plays."
That's a strange statement for one of the fastest teams in hockey, but it spoke to just how desperate the Wild became. Minnesota knew that a 3-0 hole would be huge, and it transformed into the aggressor.
"We've been a good team at responding," Ruff said. "It's going to be a heck of a series. The parity in this league is incredible and if you don't play well, you're not going to win. We didn't play well enough to win."
Read the whole thing at Heika's blog. [SportsDayDFW]
Take this away from Game 3: Sharpie got his postseason score going, and that's a good sign no matter what.
Meanwhile, Ruff talks about goaltending.
And Razor says maybe the Stars needed to get their clocks cleaned in order to finish the series focused.
DBD's own Derek Neumeier wrote over the weekend about how the Stars can't let up if they plan to win the series against the Wild, and it's still true. [The Hockey Writers]
You know Jamie Benn is a beast, and here he is being a beast in the playoffs.
Jamie Benn had an assist on Sharp's second goal. He now has registered at least one point in eight of nine career Stanley Cup Playoff games.— Josh Bogorad (@JoshBogorad) April 19, 2016
Who comes out when Kris Russell draws back in? Heika takes a look in his Cold Facts column for Game 3. [SportsDayDFW]
Jordie Benn doesn't know how long he'll be in the Stars' playoff lineup, and "that's OK with me." [SportsDayDFW]
Allan Muir says it won't be long before NHL copycats are trying to emulate a key weapon in the Stars' offensive arsenal. [Sports Illustrated]
Are you ready for another article on how Minnesota fans feel, even 23 years later, about the Stars moving to Dallas? (Warning: Hurty fee-fees.) [NHL]
Other teams actually played last night, if you can imagine. Here's what happened:
- The Washington Capitals scored five power-play goals to beat the Philadelphia Flyers 6-1 and take a 3-0 series lead, but even this wasn't the most remarkable thing about the evening. More below. [Broad Street Hockey]
- The Los Angeles Kings pulled out of their nose dive, with the help of Tanner Pearson, to defeat the San Jose Sharks 2-1 in overtime. [NHL]
The Caps-Flyers game started well enough, with a touching tribute to Philly's late founder and chairman, Ed Snider.
By the third period, the mood had turned ugly in Wells Fargo Center, and the white light-up bracelets that had been part of the Snider tribute became projectile weapons. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare may face a suspension for his violent boarding of Dmitry Orlov, the unfortunate (and potentially concussed) victim of this particular attack. [Business Insider]
Flyers fans throw something at a guy who was just checked headfirst into the boards https://t.co/KNRC4ysy1N— The Cauldron (ICYMI) (@CauldronICYMI) April 19, 2016
Pro tip: When the PA announcer urges the home crowd, in so many words, to "show some class here," the situation may have gotten beyond that.
Just a reminder that Ken Dryden saw this coming, too.
Ken Dryden wrote this about the Flyers... in 1983: pic.twitter.com/6eHTTxQQeG— Seth Rorabaugh (@emptynetters) August 29, 2014
The Caps are guarding the condition of Brooks Orpik, who appeared to be dazed and needed help leaving the ice from John Carlson and a Washington trainer after being knocked into the glass by Ryan White. [CBS Sports]
The Blues' Steve Ott – or, as Stars fans know him, the Roussel before there was a Roussel – is a complicated guy on and off the ice. Mark Spector takes a good look at "the mouth of the South," with some help from former teammate Marty Turco. [Sportsnet]
Can this season's Sharks finally shake the "chokers" label, or will the Kings hang it around their necks again? Matt Larkin examines the case.
Meanwhile, the biggest news of the 2016 playoff season is turning out to be the coaches' challenge, says Frank Seravalli. [TSN]
Before you snarl reflexively at that last link, Ken Campbell would like to remind you of a time when the ability to ask for a review might have changed the course of Stanley Cup history. [The Hockey News]
Kerry Fraser has made good on his promise to review Saturday night's Antoine Roussel goal, and he says Toronto got it right. [TSN]
Elsewhere, Jen Neale points the finger at Bob Murray for his role in creating the Ducks' "goaltending nightmare." [Puck Daddy]
Finally: Rooster isn't all agitation. The French Taunter is also a famous cat lover. Let him tell you all about it.