‘I have to redeem myself’: Foligno hopes to become Wild hero, Game 6 lineup decisions and more

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Marcus Foligno still doesn’t feel like he did anything wrong, but he admits it “was an eventful streak for myself.”

He has spent a lot of time thinking over the past few days, and his hope is to go “from villain to hero” in Game 6.

“That’s the game plan for me and for us, and we just have to win,” the Wild left wing said before Friday’s game against Dallas. “Obviously, hey, I learned my lesson in this series — just need to get smarter. I get it and I need to fix it in game 6.

But Foligno finds himself in a difficult situation.

League officials have indicated to the Wild that Foligno’s two minor penalties in Game 4, which put the Stars up 1-0 and 3-1, should not have been penalties. And the fact that the Department of Player Safety didn’t offer discipline to Foligno for kneeling Radek Fax early in Game 5 shows it didn’t rise to the level of a suspension or fine in the league’s eyes. In fact, the league told Wild and Foligno that the referees should have assessed the two-minute stumbling minor, not the knee.

The Wild still had to take a penalty — Tyler Seguin put the Stars up 1-0 with eight seconds left in the prime — but the right call would have at least kept Foligno in the game instead of playing 57 and a half minutes. with 11 forwards.

“I’ve spent the last couple of days thinking about it, probably too much,” Foligno said The Athletic. “I try to laugh it off — and not smugly. It’s just what happened. Game 4 penalties, I don’t have much to say about that. It’s just mind-boggling, to be honest. And when you’re told (5. game play) should have been a minor and you felt disqualified because you missed the whole game anyway, it’s really hard to stop thinking about it.

“I think you’ve got to have a short-term memory and I’ve got a lot of good support around me, so I can rely on that. Then you just rely on your instincts. I think I have a chance to come into Game 6 and just play a hell of a game , so that’s all I can hope for.

Foligno said the refs have a tough job, and part of him doesn’t blame them for giving him the key play as Stars’ Radek Faxa was writhing on the ice like he’d blown out his knee. But Faksa returned to the bench shortly after being helped off the ice and didn’t miss a single shift after the power play.

“He did a good job,” Foligno said, noting Faxa continues the Stars’ trend of selling offense in this series.

General manager Bill Guerin told Foligno not to hesitate in Friday’s game but to “play your game, play hard, play clean and play fair.”

But Folino must be hoping that Stars coach Pete DeBoer’s lobbying of the officials about the Wild’s physicality and penchant for penalties hasn’t caused the refs to scrutinize his every move. That seems to be the case for Foligno, knowing that at least two of his last three penalties (all on goal) should not have been taken.

“It’s frustrating when you look at it that way from a referee’s point of view,” Foligno said. “I feel like I’m a respected player in this league. I’ve never been suspended for a dirty hit or a check, so I just think I’ve got to shut that noise down.

“Maybe things in the neutral zone and open ice, the unusual things, those guys can go both ways, and you have to be smarter about that. From a physical standpoint, that’s what I have to do for this team.

Note: Foligno was suspended for two games last season for kneeing Jets’ Adam Lowry on the ice after a fight. But his point is that he usually plays by the rules when it comes to testing him. He’s just bigger and stronger (listed at 6-foot-3, 226 pounds) than most opponents.

“I think it’s clear that the wind was taken out of our sails when the major and I were thrown out that night,” Foligno said. “It’s up to me and I have to pay myself back. I look forward to getting back with these guys for a full 60 — and I’ll do everything I can to bring that streak back to Dallas.

6. the composition of the game in the air

One day after Dean Evason said the coaching staff was having lengthy discussions about the Game 6 lineup, it was hard to see what kind of changes we might see with the stricken Ryan Hartman and Mats Zuccarello not practicing.

The bottom six forwards (Gus Nyquist, Sam Thiel and Foligno on one line and Brandon Duhaime, Connor Dewar and Ryan Reaves on the other) remained unchanged, while defenseman Cullen Addison was the No. 1 center between Kirill Kaprizov and Marcus Johansson. Freddie Gaudreau crossed for Matt Boldy and Oskar Sundqvist.

One wonders if we could see Zuccarello and Johansson switch places. Had Johansson remained on the second line, Sundqvist, who has appeared just once in five playoff games, might have shared a spot on the first line with Kaprizova.

“We’ve got some banging guys,” Evason said. “Hopefully everyone is available.”

Nyquist is one player who appears to have earned a promotion in the lineup. But it looks like the bottom six may stay intact, even though the Nyquist-Steel-Foligno line has been outscored 24-10 five-on-five in 17:43 combined, according to Natural Stat Trick.

As for the final lineup decisions, Evason said, “We’ve been going back and forth. What do you do? Do you switch the lines up? Do you keep them the same? We’ve talked about all those things.”

Game 6 lessons

The Wild are 5-13 in their last 18 playoff games at home, but the good news is that one of those wins came in 2021 when they came back from a 3-2 deficit against Vegas to win Game 6 in a shutout.

“Flower, Reavo, those guys were on the other side and you can carry that momentum into Game 7,” guard Matt Dumba said of Mark Andrew Fleury and Reaves. “I think we learned from Game 6 what happened in Game 7.

“In the first period, (Jonas Brodin) was (injured) because Reavo hit him, but now we have Reavo. So I think there’s a big group of us that were on that team, and we’ve learned not to grip the stick too hard. You just have to play. It’s a different game. You have to focus and just (be) locked in for 60 minutes. You have to let other things take care of themselves and not get too hung up on anything.

Dumba is trying to focus on the present because he knows if the Wild lose another game in this series, his career with the team will likely be over.

“It’s ups and downs in the playoffs,” Dumba said. “Even Flower was talking about how he was down 3-2 in the finals (in 2009) when he won (with Pittsburgh). What did that (Game 7) come about? He jumps over the net and stops (Niklas) Lidstrom in the very last of the game per second. So the playoffs are just like that. It’s a wild ride and you just have to be ready for it all.

The Wild played well in their previous two home games in this series, so goaltender Filip Gustavsson made it clear, “We really have nothing to lose. So we have to play with urgency. And if we don’t stick to the game plan, we’re going to have a tough time.”

Wild goes to Stockholm

For the first time in 13 years, the Wild will play regular season games next season when the 2023 NHL Global Series heads to Stockholm, Sweden, with four teams — the Wild, Red Wings, Senators and Maple Leafs — playing two games each. every Nov. 16-19

The Wild will play against Ottawa on Nov. 18 (5 p.m. CT, which is seven hours ahead CT) and against Toronto on Nov. 19 (2 p.m. CT).

The Wild have eight Swedes on their playoff roster — injured Joel Eriksson Eck, Jonas Brodin and Jesper Volstedt (he’s slated to start at Iowa next season), pending free agent Gustavsson and unrestricted free agents Nyqvist, Johansson, Jon Klingberg. and Sundqvist. The Wild are also excited about 2022 first-round pick Liam Ohgren, who is from Stockholm.

Assuming Gustavsson is re-signed, the Wild should have at least three Swedes on their roster next season, possibly more depending on whether the cap-strapped team can figure out a way to keep players like Johansson and Nyqvist.

Wild is scheduled to travel to Sweden for a week.

“It’s going to be such a fun time,” said Gustavsson, who added that Brodin will have to show his Wild teammates the sights because he’s a “big city” guy and probably knows the best spots.

Gustavsson comes from Skelleftea, a 10-hour drive north of Stockholm.

“It’s depressing in the winter,” Gustavson said. “You went to school, it was dark. You went home when it was dark. You never saw the sun during school. And you took a lot of vitamin D. And then in the summer it’s great. Because then you can be out all night with your friends, and the sun again starts jumping at two in the morning.

The Wild opened the 2010-2011 season in Helsinki, Finland.

Odds and ends

• The Wild called up six forwards (Adam Beckman, Steven Fogarty, Nick Petan, Marco Rossi, Nick Swaney and Sammy Walker), two defensemen (Damon Hunt and Dakota Mermis) and a goaltender (Zane McIntyre) for Black Aces duty . – recalled Volstead and Hunter Jones. Obviously, the hope is that it lasts more than one day because when the playoffs end, so do their seasons.

• Joe Pavelski, who was concussed when he was checked by Dumba in the second period of Game 1, practiced in Dallas on Thursday and planned to travel with the team to Minnesota. He is expected to participate in Friday’s noon pregame skate for the Stars, a game-time decision, but indications Thursday were that he would not play. He rotated on the fourth line and outside, and Tyler Seguin, who has four power-play goals, filled in for Pavelski on the No. 1 unit. If Pavelski were to return, it makes sense to save him for a possible Game 7.

(Photo by Marcus Foligno: Jerome Miron/USA Today)

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