The 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs got off to a rocky start for the Minnesota Wild. Game 1 saw Minnesota with a two goal lead going into the third period only to see the Avalanche rally to tie the game and then winning it in overtime by a score of 5-4. In game 2, Minnesota was unable to stop Colorado’s transition game in the neutral zone as the Avalanche out-skated the Wild, winning 4-2.
On April 8, the Minnesota Wild clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. What was yet to be determined was who their opponent in the first round would be. The thought was the Wild would face either Anaheim or St. Louis, both of whom were leading their respective divisions at the time. When the dust settled on the regular season Sunday, it was the Colorado Avalanche who turned out to be Minnesota’s opponent in the first round.
On Wednesday, the Minnesota Wild played their final home game against the Vancouver Canucks before starting a four game road trip. With games coming against St. Louis, Phoenix, Los Angeles and Chicago it was important to get two points against a Vancouver team that had been imploding over the last couple months.
It was a playoff-like atmosphere for the Minnesota Wild Thursday night with the New York Rangers in town, and the Wild ended a three-game winless skid with a 2-1 victory over the Rangers.
Going into the NHL trade deadline, the Minnesota Wild weren’t thought to be very active. Holding on to the first wild-card seed in the Western Conference, Minnesota should be a playoff team if they continue to play as they have since Jan. 1. If anything, the thought was the Wild would address the goal-tending situation and that would probably be it. Minnesota did that and then some. The Wild made two trades at the deadline, getting Ilya Bryzgalov from Edmonton and acquiring Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick from Buffalo.
The 8th annual Hockey Day Minnesota took place on Saturday starting with a trio of high school games in Elk River, Minn. That was followed by a game at Mariucci Arena between Ohio State and Minnesota, with the nightcap taking place at Xcel Energy Center between the Minnesota Wild and the Dallas Stars.
The last 12 days of 2013 weren’t kind to the Minnesota Wild. Minnesota lost its final three games going into the Christmas break. Out of the break the Wild lost its next three games, the last two of which coming on home ice.
With a day off on Wednesday, the Minnesota Wild spent most of its practice time working on the power play. Judging by the results on Thursday, it seems like practice paid off as power play goals by Zach Parise and Jonas Brodin help lead Minnesota to a 4-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Minnesota Wild spent Thanksgiving with two home games sandwiched around the holidays, playing Phoenix on Wednesday and Colorado on Friday. The end result being a 3-1 loss to both hockey clubs. That’s right, two games, two different teams, same result.
With a concussed Niklas Backstrom on the shelf for an indeterminate amount of time, Josh Harding has solidified his hold on the No. 1 goaltender position for the Minnesota Wild. More than that, he may have locked himself in as the best story in the NHL this season.
Last April the Minnesota Wild made a bold move at the NHL trade deadline as they sent goaltender Matt Hackett, forward Johan Larsson and a pair of draft picks to Buffalo for forward Jason Pominville.
One of the best things about sports is that each team has a rival or a villain who they just cannot stand to play against. Whether it’s somebody who managed to always find a way to beat you or someone who just rubs you the wrong way there is always one team you want to beat just because you want to stick it to that player.