ST. LOUIS -- Yes, the Blues have a sizable lead in their best-of-7 Western Conference First Round series against the Minnesota Wild, but it's no time to get complacent.
Network: NBC (Stream online here)
The Blues, who host Game 3 Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. (NBC, KMOX 1120-AM), not only gained home ice advantage in the series by winning Game 1, but began to squeeze the Wild's throats. by winning two games at Xcel Energy Center.
Now comes the real test as the Blues can literally put their foot on the Wild's throat, and they'll have the chance to do so in front of a raucous crowd that will be ready to blow the roof off Scottrade Center.
But the Blues know the Wild is a wounded animal and will come out scratching and clawing. That's why they have to be prepared for everything and anything.
"I think they're going to come here obviously motivated," Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester said of the Wild. "Any time you're down in a series, you want to get it right back. We've won two in their building. They're going to want to come and do the same thing here. They're going to be desperate; we know that, but it doesn't change our mindset or anything. I think you approach all these games literally the same. You can't really worry about what has happened. Going forward obviously, we'd like tow in the next one, next two, but it's going to be a hard road."
This is the third time in franchise history the Blues have won the first two games on the road to begin a series. The previous two times (1993 against the Chicago Blackhawks and 2001 against Ken Hitchcock's Dallas Stars), the Blues came home and swept both series.
Nobody is talking sweep here -- yet -- but a win today would sure put the Blues in a heck of a good position for Game 4.
And who better to lean on in this spot than Blues coach Mike Yeo, whose Wild team of 2014 when he was coaching Minnesota trailed the Colorado Avalanche 2-0 before winning that first-round series in seven.
And current Wild coach Bruce Boudreau just recently as last season was down 0-2 to the Nashville Predators with his Anaheim Ducks before the Ducks reeled off three wins in a row, then lost the series in seven.
"That experience alone, he can sell that," Yeo said of Boudreau. "I've been on that side with that group over there where were down 2-0 and came back to win a series. I know that they're not going to go away lightly. They're not just going to lose, we're going to have to beat them if that's the case, and for us to do that, we're going to have to continue what we've done and try to get better. We have to look at the tape, look at the things we've done well and continue to do those and also be wary of what they might adjust on. We have to look at the areas we need to get better, certainly there are a couple adjustments we can make tomorrow that should give us a chance to get on the attack and get on the hunt a little more and if we do those things, keep building our game a little more, we'll continue to get better."
The fact the Blues have allowed a 6-on-5 goal and one 5-on-3 goal to a team that has that kind of firepower says something. And going back to the regular season, the Blues have won in Minnesota three times, allowing one goal in each game, and in that 2-1 victory on March 7, it was another 6-on-5 goal late.
"It's good if you look at it that way, but we haven't scored much either," Bouwmeester said. "It's tight and it's going to be that way and that's just the way it is. You probably could have predicted that before the series. Just in regular season games we have with them, they're always close and back and forth. You never want to give up anything, but I think the way we survived the first game, it's always good to win, but we had to play better and we did yesterday. There's still room for improvement."
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