Reporting Mike Max
ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – The Minnesota Wild begin its playoff push tonight as its hosts the Nashville Predators in their first game back from the All-Star break.
The team believes that despite a rash of injuries, a long losing streak and inconsistent play, they can get to the postseason with a strong second half push.
An All-Star break is a little like a fresh start. You come back, forget the early failures and feel confident again.
“I think we had good momentum going into the break and now for us it’s going to be about a fresh start again,” said Wild forward Devin Setoguchi. “A lot of teams get their five day rest and we have to knock some rust off here.”
After this week, they have 16 games at home through March. They’re hoping if there was turning point in the season, it was the last home game, where there was a three-goal stretch in 59 seconds.
“We went down and I think coming back from Dallas with the three goals we scored in a minute there to come back from being down 2-1, we kind of became ourselves again from there,” said Cal Clutterbuck.
It looks a lot like previous years where every game the rest of the season has playoff implications. Win or at least get a point and you’re still in the race, or lose and start treading water. It’s pressure that the Wild can either fight or embrace.
In the “State of Hockey,” not getting to the playoffs is simply not acceptable among Wild fans.
“This is a fun time to be a hockey player. When you come to the rink and you get to play a game, and every day it matters,” said Wild coach Mike Yeo.
It’ll be a lot more fun for the Wild if it can push forward and into the postseason in Yeo’s first year.