Can the Wild Still Salvage the Season?

The Minnesota Wild celebrate an overtime victory.
MICHAEL DWYER, ASSOCIATED PRESS

The NHL season is wrapping up and the Minnesota Wild are still fighting for a playoff spot. The Western Conference is tight and the Wild are currently 9 points out of a playoff spot behind both the Vegas Golden Knights, who are currently in the second wild card spot and the St. Louis Blues, who are only 6 points behind the Knights. So, is there any way for Minnesota to salvage their season and make the playoffs again? They’re still in it until they’re ruled out of it. Let’s look at what could help Minnesota do the improbable and secure a playoff spot.

Kaprizov is showing his star power

It isn’t a surprise that Kirill Kaprizov has been one of the highest scorers in the league lately. When push comes to shove, Kaprizov is great at putting the team on his back and pushing through obstacles. In the past 10 games, he has 16 points and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. 

The Swedes are coming back soon

Joel Eriksson Ek and Jonas Brodin are arguably two of the most important members of the team. Ek does anything and everything for the team. Hes the first over the boards in all situations. Losing him meant having to rearrange all of the lines, special teams, and overtime trios. Ek has been having another career year, with 60 points in 66 games. That’s only one point away from tying last year’s season point total. Having Ek back will change the top line.

Brodin is the top defenseman that the Wild has, no matter which pairing he is playing on. With both Brodin and Jared Spurgeon out, the blue line has tried hard to hold the fort together. But when two of the defensemen are struggling Jon Merrill and AHL journeyman Dakota Mermis, the team is at a disadvantage. (This is not to slight Merrill or Mermis, who’ve jumped into a tough situation and done their best.)

Mostly easy schedule the rest of the way

The Wild have 11 games left. Out of those, they play the San Jose Sharks (twice), the Chicago Blackhawks, the Seattle Kraken and the Ottawa Senators. That is five games that should be easy wins if the Wild are able to keep the finish line in sight. 

Two matchups with Vegas

Now, five easy games doesn’t mean everything will be easy. But Minnesota has two very important games against the Knights that could gain valuable points. These games against a division rival just above them in the standings are technically only two points, but in the standings can cause a four point swing. The Wild and the Knights have only played one other game this season, but the Wild won 5-3. Will they be able to pull off another two wins?

Goaltending could be picking up

The goaltending this season has been…rough, to say the least. But lately, it seems to be getting on the right track. Marc-Andre Fleury is 5-3-2 in his past 10 games. His stats during that time aren’t great, but adding defensively-minded players back into the lineup could help his numbers.

Filip Gustavsson, on the other hand, has struggled for most of the season. Consistency has been nonexistent. But he has shown flashes of the Vezina-level goaltending that he showed last season. If he can lock in the incredible goaltending that he is capable of, Gustavsson could be an important component down the stretch.

Is a playoff spot a possibility?

Technically, yes. Moneypuck currently has the Wild with a 7.4% chance of making the playoffs. (Up from 6.8% after last night’s Eastern Conference games.) So, there is an ever so slight chance to get a wild card spot.

It would, however, be completely nutty and a story that would go down in Minnesota history. It is so unlikely that some fans have already written them off. But it’s okay to have on rose-colored glasses. The season isn’t over until it’s over. Just like a fan needs to watch a hockey game until the clock hits zero, they also need to watch the season until it’s over. It’s okay to keep the faith until the last minute. No matter what, the Wild will need fans to support them through anything that happens.

For more Minnesota Wild news and vibe checks, listen to Her Wild Side Hockey Podcast.

Bold Statement: I Would NOT Trade Brock Faber for Connor Bedard Her Wild Side Hockey Podcast

In this episode, Mikki explains why she would NOT trade Brock Faber for Connor Bedard, which made people big mad on social media. She also touches on a few fun things to keep it light at the end. Links:Her Wild Side Merch Shop!Ticketmaster Affiliate LinkSocial Media:TwitterInstagramFacebookFor more from us, visit Inside The RinkHow to support us and our sponsors:Columbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR 
  1. Bold Statement: I Would NOT Trade Brock Faber for Connor Bedard
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