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Wild Focused on Game 6, Not Controversy

Updated: 04/28/2014 4:55 PM
Created: 04/27/2014 9:21 PM KSTP.com

Twice in five games, the Minnesota Wild have been less than 75 seconds from a victory on the road.

Both times, the Colorado Avalanche got the tying goal late in regulation before winning in overtime.

Talk about deflating.

Now the Wild faces elimination as the Avalanche visit Xcel Energy Center for Game 6 on Monday leading the first-round playoff series 3-2.

If the Wild are not able to ignore the what-if feelings of frustration from those narrow losses, they'll be in trouble against an Avalanche team that perked up on Saturday after consecutive flat performances in Games 3 and 4.

But being on the edge might work in the Wild's favor. The team played great hockey in Games 3 and 4 after falling behind 2-0 in the best-of-seven games series.

"We have been a pretty good team this year when tested," head coach Mike Yeo said. "When we've needed a response, this is where guys should welcome that opportunity. This is a great challenge."

Game 5 was filled with controversy. With the Wild leading 3-2 with just over a minute to play in the game, the referees did not call what appeared to be an off-sides by the Avalanche's Paul Stastny. Colorado's P. A. Parenteau scored soon after to tie the game 3-3 and the Avs went on to win in overtime.

Wild defenseman Ryan Suter said afterward the no-call cost his team the game, and Zach Parise said the play didn't feel right.

Controversy came earlier in the third period when a hooking or holding call could have been called on the Avalanche as the Wild's Charlie Coyle skated toward an open net.

Yeo played down the controversy after the game, saying "to sit here and dwell on it I don't think is going to do any good."

Instead, Yeo is showing confidence and using the difficulties from the road as motivation for the remainder of the playoffs.

"It's not just great because things go easy and things go well," he said about playoff hockey. "It's great because you have to fight through the hard times and the difficulties and that's what makes it so rewarding."

After Monday morning's skating session, Parise talked about the difficulty the Avalanche will have in finishing off the Wild.

"The toughest thing to do is close out a series," he said. "I think when you're on the other side you're expecting the best game out of the team that's down 3-2 and I think that's what we expect from ourselves."

If the Wild win Monday at home, Game 7 would be on Wednesday night in Denver. The time of that winner-take-all contest has not been released yet.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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