Wild looks to continue win streak in Chicago

CHICAGO - Jonathan Toews just wanted to put the past two games behind him and focus on what lies ahead.

While the Wild appreciated the outcome of the last two games, they are still trying to forget about those first two games in Chicago as they return for Game 5 on Sunday.

"There's going to be times throughout game and times throughout series when you have to forget about it and move on," said Wild forward Zach Parise. "And just like in the first round, we had to forget about the (first two games) and we had to do that (again)."

The Blackhawks had a chance to complete a sweep on the road. Instead, they came home tied 2-2 with the Wild in the Western Conference semifinals.

Toews says the defending champions need to "have a real short memory" and there will be "moments where your stomach drops."

Wild players know about that tension.

"It's only going to get tougher," said Wild center Mikko Koivu. "We need to prepare ourselves for even a bigger game and a tougher game, obviously, in Chicago."

The Blackhawks looked like they were in good shape after taking the first two games at home, but whatever control they had in this series got ripped from their grasp once the series shifted to Minnesota.

The Wild dominated Chicago on their ice - 4-0 in Game 3 and 4-2 in Game 4 Friday.

The Wild have been sparked by play from younger players like forward Nino Niederreiter.

"You feel the competition for sure, but at the end of the day, each one of us, we try to push each other, to make each other better each day," said Niederreiter. "I feel like that's a big part of why we are all successful."

"They've been doing a really great job, and to see the success they are having in the playoffs, they are all really good kids," said Wild forward Dany Heatley. "They work hard and it's fun to be around them."

The frenzied urgency has been evident from veterans like Heatley to younger players like Niederrieter and Erik Haula. It's a maturation process that continues each and every shift as well as each and every game.

"We have to make sure we play the same hockey we play at home on the road, and I feel like that's going to bring us success," Niederreiter said.

The Wild and Blackhawks will face off at 8 p.m. on Sunday night. The game will air on CNBC and there will be a live chat starting at 7:30 p.m. on KARE 11.


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