The Wraparound: Wild can’t afford to lose temper vs. Blues
The Wraparound is your daily look at the 2022 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. We’ll break down the NHL playoff games today with the all-important television information.
• Catch up on the second night of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs with the NHL Rink Wrap, from a small upset to a big blowout and triple overtime.
• The NHL handed out a set of fines, with Jared Spurgeon avoiding a suspension despite an ugly, dangerous cross-check to Pavel Buchnevich’s lower body. Doesn’t seem like the best message for the league to send, unless they want players to think, “We can get away with a lot.”
• Maple Leafs forward Kyle Clifford didn’t get away with his boarding hit, however, as he received a one-game suspension. It’s more than fair to wonder if Clifford should’ve even been in Toronto’s Game 1 lineup in the first place.
Following a full set of Game 1 action, the Wild aren’t the only higher seed who lost home-ice advantage (in their case, falling to the Blues). Of the teams who lost their first playoff home games, the Wild might be most disturbed because of how they fell, though.
It’s something the Wild really need to be careful about as they host the Blues in Game 2 (9:30 p.m. ET - ESPN).
Beyond getting shut out 4-0 by the Blues, multiple Wild players lost their cool. Frankly, Jared Spurgeon and the Wild are lucky that he was merely fined for doing this to Pavel Buchnevich.
[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 First Round schedule, TV info]
For some added context, Spurgeon is a very underrated defenseman, and part of his brilliance is his knack for staying out of the box. Expect to see Spurgeon on multiple Lady Byng ballots after being a go-to defenseman and only logging 10 penalty minutes.
Wild head coach Dean Evason thinks that Spurgeon losing his cool shows just how out-of-sorts the team was in that Game 1 loss to the Blues.
Dean Evason on Spurgeon: “We were frustrated last night. We took some bad penalties. That’s a bad penalty. He knows it. When Jared Spurgeon does something like that, it means your group is off kilter a little bit. So they’ll rein it back in and he’ll be the guy to do it.”— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) May 3, 2022
When a grumpy person sees an NFL player boldly celebrating a touchdown, they may huff “Act like you’ve been there before.” The Wild are lucky that they only suffered a single loss (and not the loss of a great defenseman) by acting instead like children throwing fits.
This is, after all, a Wild franchise that hasn’t won a playoff series since 2014-15. They’ve also only reached one Western Conference Final, when they fell meekly to the then-Mighty Ducks.
If the Wild want to put together that elusive deep playoff run, they need to score against the Blues in Game 2. They also need to keep their cool. That might not be the “Wild” way to get things done, but it’s necessary.
NHL PLAYOFF GAMES TODAY
Game 2: Bruins at Hurricanes (CAR leads 1-0), 7 p.m. ET - ESPN: For the most part, the Bruins’ decision to split Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak into two lines has been lucrative. Marchand and Bergeron boost Jake DeBrusk, while Erik Haula benefits from Pastrnak and Taylor Hall. But it’s worth noting that, while still pretty productive, Brad Marchand’s only scored one goal since April 4. Again, it’s not the end of the world, especially since he’s still producing. Yet, if the Bruins struggle to create offense against the Hurricanes again in Game 2, maybe it’s wise to turn back to “The Perfection Line?”
Game 2: Lightning at Maple Leafs (TOR leads 1-0), 7:30 p.m. ET - ESPN2: Basically, the Maple Leafs dominated the Lightning from start to finish in their first playoff skirmish. Of course, part of what makes the Maple Leafs so sad in such soap operatic ways is that they build up expectations, only to see those dreams shatter due to harsh realities. It’s tough to imagine the Lightning failing to push back a lot harder in Game 2, so we’ll see if the Maple Leafs are ready.
Game 2: Kings at Oilers (LAK leads 1-0), 10 p.m. ET - ESPN2: Certain playoff losses are unsettling because your opponent forced you to play their style of hockey, not your own. There’s a different form of discomfort when you have a lot of things go your way, and still lose. With four power-play opportunities apiece, a special-teams-heavy Game 1 favored the Oilers (2-for-4) more than the Kings (0-for-4). Edmonton also received serious contributions from Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. It just wasn’t enough, in part because of a miserable night for Mike Smith. People will quickly forget the progress Edmonton made under Jay Woodcroft if Los Angeles takes Game 2.
THURSDAY’S NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
Game 2: Penguins at Rangers (PIT leads 1-0), 7 p.m. ET - ESPN
Game 2: Capitals at Panthers (WSH leads 1-0), 7:30 p.m. ET - ESPN2
Game 2: Predators at Avalanche (COL leads 1-0), 9:30 p.m. ET - ESPN
Game 2: Stars at Flames (CGY leads 1-0), 10 p.m. ET - ESPN2
PHT’s 2022 Stanley Cup previews
• Maple Leafs vs. Lightning
• Hurricanes vs. Bruins
• Penguins vs. Rangers
• Panthers vs. Capitals
• Blues vs. Wild
• Avalanche vs. Predators
• Oilers vs. Kings
• Flames vs. Stars
• NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 schedule, TV info
• First Round, Stanley Cup predictions
• NHL Draft Lottery set: Canadiens have best odds for top pick
• Why your team will (and will not) win the Stanley Cup