Minnesota Wild wins to inch closer

Joe Morrow pulls Minnesota's Matt Dumba off Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck

Joe Morrow pulls Minnesota's Matt Dumba off Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck

The seventh-seeded Wild had the Jets, who had the second best regular-season record in the National Hockey League this year, on their heels and had sucked most of the air out of Bell MTS Place, until the error.

The Jets were a late arrival for Game 3 in more ways than one.

Hellebuyck, a third-year pro with no previous playoff experience, wasn't showing any negative signs about being pulled from the Jets' 6-2 post-season loss to the Minnesota Wild.

Jared Spurgeon returned last game and looked pretty good considering he had not played in a month.

The Wild will try to tie the best-of-seven series 2-2 when they host Game 4 on Tuesday night.

Winnipeg star forward Patrik Laine scored on a wrist shot with 15:09 to go in the third and defenseman Joe Morrow scored the game-winner from the point with just 7:13 left to give the Jets the win. Starter Connor Hellebuyck had 16 saves in the opening 40 minutes, but did not finish the game.

Teams that go up 2-0 in a playoff round by winning both games at home go on to win the series 89.3 per cent of the time.

After being pushed around almost 500 miles from home and returning to the Twin Cities down 2-0 in a best-of-seven series, it was reasonable to wonder whether the Wild could actually hang with the rival Winnipeg Jets. The blizzard that blanketed the Twin Cities forced their charter flight to land in Duluth on Saturday afternoon and return to Winnipeg for the night.

The club hopped back on the plane early Sunday morning and landed roughly eight hours before puck drop. The Wild have gone 28-14 here at home and they have averaged 3.36 gpg and have allowed 2.17 gpg in those games.

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"When you're the favorite, everyone expects you to be ideal", Boudreau said.

Wheeler put Winnipeg up 1-0 on a power play on the first Jets shot of the game, snapping a bouncing puck from along the goal line that caromed off Dubnyk's glove hand and in.

Cullen, the former Moorhead and St. Cloud State star, scored his 19th-career playoff goal in his 124th-career playoff game just 1:46 into the third period.

"And then he shut the door".

The Wild snapped right back. Parise freed himself from a tie-up in traffic with Jacob Trouba to move in position for the redirect of the second one. Replays seemed to show the Wild winger's glove jabbing into the back of Myers' knee as he was falling. Then came the goals by Greenway and Staal, and the rout was on. "We can't be scared of that physical play". "And that's when the game changed".

The second period went from bad to worse for the Jets, when Myers was checked by Foligno and caught his skate at the bottom of the boards. Fans like Greg Martin and Shelly Foster, who said the roads were slick and clogged with heavy snow, but as long as they kept to 30-50 km/hour, found the drive manageable.

There was a lot to like, at least, about the Wild's performance.

The fans stood for the final two minutes as the Jets protected the one-goal victory.

Josh Morrissey has repeated it several times already in this series: You need to have a short memory in the playoffs.

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