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Wild Will Try to Keep Rally Going

Posted by Webster Washington on 4/20/2016 2:45:37 AM

The Minnesota Wild were stumbling along, praying for a turnaround, when they entered Game 3 of their playoff series with Dallas Monday. Their prayers were answered with a 5-3 win, and now they seek to take the renewed vitality a step further and even the series Wednesday night.

Game 3

The Wild brought a 0-2 series deficit onto their home ice Monday. They had gone 1-4 against the Stars in the regular season and had limped into the playoffs losing four straight and missing two of their top goal producers in Zach Parise and Thomas Vanek. Then when the Stars struck early in the game on two goals by Patrick Sharp, the whole series – and season – looked doomed. But Chris Porter's goal late in the first made it a game, and for the next period the Wild would whittle away at the Stars' confidence. The momentum rolled over into the second period when Erik Haula lasered a shot past goalie Kari Lehthonen six minutes in to tie it at 2-2. For the rest of the second period, Dallas never got the momentum back, playing like they were holding on for dear life. The Wild scored again late in the period to make it 3-2 and took charge early in the third period with Mikko Koivu's power play strike. That put the Stars into desperation mode, and they scrambled to rally on a goal with just under eight minutes left. But as time ran down, Lehthonen had to leave the net and Minnesota clinched it around the one minute mark with an open netter.

Game 4

After Monday's bombardment, the Stars may turn to Antti Niemi (25-13-7, 2.67 goals against average) to restore order in goal. But Dallas is still the better team here, and they should respond on Wednesday to the wake-up call. They have All-Star center Tyler Seguin back from a month-long injury absence, and he should help jump start them in Game 4. The Wild are in bad need of relief, with Parise and Vanek missing, and even though they proved themselves on Monday, I like Dallas at -110 or better for Wednesday's game. Then they should return home to clinch the series.

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