CHICAGO -- Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo had no problem stating his game plan to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks in their first-round series that begins on Tuesday, but he understands the execution isn't as easy.
"It's pretty simple, we've got to be great at every aspect of our game, every player of our team," Yeo said after Tuesday's morning skate at the United Center. "The depth of their lineup, the strength of their game in all situations, there's no room for error on our part. That's obviously a tough challenge, but at the same time we like to think that when we've been sort of faced with those situations and when we've gone up against teams like that, it's helped to sharpen our focus, and we felt we've performed well in those situations."
The Wild realize they enter the series as the underdog. They earned the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference by winning their final regular-season game on Saturday. They could have clinched a playoff spot on Friday, but they lost 6-1 to the Edmonton Oilers. The Wild finished the regular season 26-19-3 with 55 points.
On the other hand, the Blackhawks clinched their playoff spot after 38 games and the Presidents' Trophy after 46 games. They finished the regular season with a 36-7-5 record and 77 points.
The Wild, who haven't been to the playoffs since 2008, are hopeful now their adversities in the regular season have prepared them for the playoffs.
"Certainly as you look back on it, we like to think the pressures we had to deal with, the emotions we had to deal with, being a team that hasn't been there as long as we had and so many guys who have never been there, dealing with those emotions, we like to think should help us," Yeo said.
Wild forward Mikko Koivu believes the adversity they have gone through will help in the playoffs.
"I think it's one of our strengths -- we went through ups and downs," Koivu said. "I think that's going to help us, too. It's all about the playoffs. It's one shift, one period, one game at a time. That's what we need to do. Obviously try to be our best and play the best we can shift by shift, period by period and game by game."
The Wild and Blackhawks played three times in the regular season. The Wild won 3-2 in a shootout in Minnesota on Jan. 30. The Blackhawks won 5-3 in Chicago on March 5 and 1-0 in Minnesota on April 1.
Wild forward Kyle Brodziak doesn't expect anything to come easy against the Blackhawks in the playoffs just as in the regular season.
"They're one of the best teams in the league all year consistently," Brodziak said. "You know we've got to work for everything we get. It's not like just because they have skill they don't play defense. We know they're a good defensive team as well. We just got to work for everything we get."