Wild taking note of Ryan Suter’s shots on Kirill Kaprizov: ‘I think it’s going to fire him up’
The Wild don’t plan to retaliate on Stars defenseman Ryan Suter, a former longtime Wild star, despite the fact that he spent Game 1 delivering cross checks directly to Kirill Kaprizov’s lower back.
DALLAS — Dean Evason made himself very clear when asked how the Minnesota Wild will balance being disciplined with making sure they don’t get pushed around by the Dallas Stars.
“We don’t get pushed around,” the Wild coach said. “I’m not worried about that.”
In other words, if things get out of hand in the first-round playoff series, the Wild have more than enough physicality to hold their own. Whether it’s Marcus Foligno, Ryan Reaves or Brandon Duhaime, among a handful of others, there is no shortage of players willing to respond if the moment calls for it.
“When push comes to shove, we’ll stand up,” Evason said before adding an important caveat. “We’ve got to stay on that line.”
That’s the name of the game in the NHL playoffs. You have to stay disciplined. You can’t do something retaliatory that runs the risk of giving the opposing team the upper hand. The margin for error is so minuscule at this point that sitting for a couple of minutes in the penalty box can literally be the difference in a game.
“You’ve got to be smart,” said Foligno, who, as he noted, took a slashing minor in Game 1 that ultimately led to a goal. “You don’t want to be taking dumb penalties.”
That’s why the Wild don’t plan to retaliate on veteran Stars defenseman Ryan Suter, a former longtime Wild star, despite the fact that he spent Game 1 delivering cross checks directly to Kirill Kaprizov’s lower back.
Though the Wild will be cognizant of the plays near the crease moving forward — puck drop for Game 2 was set for 8:50 p.m. Wednesday — they vowed not to do anything stupid on the ice.
They know there are legal ways to make their presence felt. In the words of Foligno, “You get them back on the forecheck by hitting clean and making it hurt there.”
Still, it’s no secret that the Wild aren’t happy with the officials turning a blind eye to shots at their superstar.
“Hopefully they get a penalty out of it next time,” Foligno said. “You saw the ref stare at him twice. It’s ridiculous, in my mind. That’s what Sutes does. We played with him. He’s tough to play against. He really slows down top players, and that’s why he’s been in this league for a long time.”
Not that the Wild are worried about Kaprizov continuing to battle in front of the net.
“I don’t think he’s throwing Kirill off his game,” Reaves said. “I think it’s going to fire him up. If it gets out of control, it’ll be addressed. We’re not going to run around and take penalties and put ourselves down for a small cross check.”
There’s also the possibility that the Stars will try to hunt Wild defenseman Matt Dumba after his big hit on Joe Pavelski in Game 1. Don’t expect anyone on the Wild to lose their cool in Game 2.
“It’s the playoffs,” Reaves said. “You’ve got to look at the bigger picture.”
That might mean taking a cheap shot, getting back up and skating straight to the bench.
“If they want to retaliate, then let them retaliate,” Reaves said. “They can sit in the penalty box and we’ll go on the power play.”
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