That's why you had to feel good for them this year - as they returned one of the great playoff traditions: the Winnipeg whiteout.
"No matter how you cut it, guys play for seven months, and if they go down 0-2, they're a little bit disappointed, but it's not like getting down 0-2 in your building and having to go to their building", Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said after the team practiced in its rink Saturday.
Alex Killorn scored twice during a four-goal second period, helping the top seed in the Eastern Conference beat the Devils 5-3 in Game 2 of the best-of-seven series.
On Friday night, they'll attempt to earn their second. "It's a hockey state for sure". I think to a man we knew we didn't play a playoff game last game here in Game 1. They plan to try again Sunday morning. Flights were also cancelled to Minneapolis with the Winnipeg Jets team charter being forced to divert to Duluth, Minn., before returning to Winnipeg.
The Jets ended the night with 30 scoring chances to the Wild's 11, according to Natural Stat Trick.
"Going into the one in 2015", said Jets centre Adam Lowry, "we were scratching and clawing just to get into the playoffs. It's a free couple wins,"' Minnesota forward Zach Parise told reporters after the skate. We know the crowd is going to be very good.
Game 4 was scheduled for Tuesday. While Sidney Crosby, two days removed from a hat trick, came up short despite a breakaway shot and two opportunities right next to the net, five different Flyers lit the lamp, first forcing Matt Murray off the ice with 4:28 still left in the game and putting their stagnant Game 1 outing in the rear-view mirror. The Jets also cranked up their physical play Friday, outhitting the visitors 38-23. Patrick Laine and Tyler Myers each notched a goal and an assist, while Jack Roslovic had two assists.
The 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs began this week, and there is a long list of former MI hockey players competing for the NHL's most coveted prize.
This was different. They now had a win, their first, in the National Hockey League postseason.
"Yeah", Hellebuyck said when asked if he was disappointed in not posting a shutout. "It's the playoffs. There's going to be battles, there's going to be swings of momentum, but the big thing for me is who won the game". Game 3 is set for Sunday in St. Paul at 7 p.m. ET. "We'll do our best to get this third game and go from there".
"It would be disappointing if we can't go, but it is what it is".
"I think we're going to take the first game down there".
Midway through the game, former Calder Trophy victor, defenceman Tyler Myers walked around Minny's Jason Zucker, before shifting his way directly to the Wild cage, and burying a quick snapshot past the near-unbeatable Devan Dubnyk. "We just want to play fast".