ST. PAUL, Minn. - It was fairly evident that Minnesota Wild players were loose as they carved up the ice during their early game-day skate Monday.
Game faces are sure to be a bit more serious as they fight for their hockey lives during Game 6 of the Wild's Western Conference Playoff series against Colorado.
"These are the games you get up for," Wild coach Mike Yeo told reporters at a morning briefing. "Obviously knowing what's at stake, knowing their season is on the line, having a chance to go out and play in front of our crowd with the opportunity to push it to game 7.... As a competitor you have to love those challenges. "
Yeo says the Wild has plenty of people on staff with experience in big games. He and assistant coach Rick Wilson have been on the coaching staff of Stanley Cup winning teams, assistant coach Daryl Sydor skated on two cup winners as a player and others have plenty of playoff experience.
He reminded younger players to take time Monday to talk to those who have been there, and ask them how to keep nerves in check.
"I would have to expect nerves to creep in a little closer to game time, there's going to be some butterflies for sure, so what we're looking for is just to go into this game, not have any fear of what we're afraid of losing, can't have any thought of the negative part of what's at stake here," Yeo reasoned. "We have to make sure we're going all into this game, throw our best effort out to win a hockey game."