With a season under their belt, the Wild have secured the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and have an easier path to the Stanley Championship Game.
Here are five takeaways from the Wild’s first-round series with the Boston Bruins.1.
They can’t let the Bruins win.
If the Bruins are going to win the East, the team has to beat the Wild and the Chicago Blackhawks.
And while they’re not going to beat either team in a best-of-seven series, they can’t win it with a team that’s still competing for a playoff spot.
If they lose a game to Boston in regulation or overtime, they’ll have to go back to the drawing board and try to make up for that loss in a shootout.2.
They’re ready to win.
Even with the Ducks losing for the first time since April, the Ducks’ confidence in themselves has grown throughout the playoffs.
That confidence was on full display in Game 2.
Anaheim had been playing the best hockey of their young careers, but the Wild were more than up to the task.
They played a gritty, physical game that looked to be more than just a preseason showcase, and their team never lost composure.
That didn’t stop Boston from getting the better of the series, though, with a shootout win.
The Wild’s confidence will be tested again this series.
They have to get past the Bruins if they want to go to the postseason.3.
The Wild will have the best goalie in the playoffs and will have a chance to steal the series with a healthy Carey Price.
The Ducks have their goalie, Ryan Miller, back for Game 3, and they’re already in good shape after his stellar Game 2 performance.
Miller, who was on fire throughout the series against the Bruins, has a chance for his first shutout of the playoffs in Game 3.4.
They’ll need a great start to beat a good team.
Boston, the only team to win a Stanley Cup championship in the Western Conference, was a juggernaut during the playoffs, but that was the year they won the Cup.
They had some elite goaltending in their top six, but it wasn’t enough.
The Bruins will have to play a tougher game against the Wild.5.
The Ducks will need to make a big difference against the Blackhawks.
Chicago won the Stanley Cups with the help of some incredible goaltending from Jonathan Quick, and that hasn’t happened since his arrival in Chicago in 2012.
Chicago will have one of the best goaltenders in the league in Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford, and the Ducks will have trouble with him.
The Blackhawks have a young defense that can score goals, and Crawford could be a big factor in that.