The day after a hugely disappointing loss to Chicago — one that put his team down 3-0 in the series and on the brink of a sweep — Minnesota head coach Mike Yeo was blunt in explaining what motivates him.
“I hate the word — I’ve never been swept.” he explained. “That’s pretty motivating in itself.”
For Yeo and the Wild, their third crack at the ‘Hawks has been anything but charmed. After bowing out of the ’13 playoffs in five games and six games last year, they were poised to give Chicago all it could handle this postseason, especially coming off an Round 1 victory in which the dispatched of a quality Blues team.
But little’s gone right for Minnesota.
Much of that is due to Corey Crawford, who’s been razor sharp for most of the series and, even when he hasn’t, the Wild failed to capitalize; in Game 1, when they put three past Crawford in a furious second-period rally, Teuvo Teravainen’s long-range shot eluded Devan Dubnyk for what proved to be the decisive tally.
“I didn’t pick it up until it was about 5-6 feet in front of me and just kind of a flash and that’s why I kind of just waved at it and missed it,” Dubnyk said of the goal. “The way it came up the wall, I didn’t see it come off the guy’s stick and I didn’t pick it up at all, but that’s my job.”
That’s a microcosm of Minnesota’s fate throughout the series — play a tight game, have it decided by one or two plays. It’s tough not to think Minnesota deserves a better fate or, at the very least, a 2-1 series deficit; in Game 3, the Wild were largely the better team — outshooting Chicago 30-22 — but the decisive moment came from Patrick Kane, who scored the game’s lone goal with a tricky shot in the first period.
This is probably why Yeo used the words he when discussing a sweep. The Wild feel they probably should’ve won at least one game this series… and are adamant they still can.
“The motivation’s not part of it. We wouldn’t even be here if we didn’t have that kind of pride,” Yeo explained. “How we approach it right now is what matters most.
“For me, I’m just doing everything I can to make sure our guys are ready. I’m ready to coach the best game I can tomorrow.”