MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s going to be a busy and stressful night on the couch on Wednesday if you’re a fan of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Wild.

The Minnesota Wild opens the Stanley Cup Playoffs at 6 p.m. Wednesday against the Winnipeg Jets. It’s the first of two games in Winnipeg for the Wild. Game 2 of that playoff series will be Friday night.

It’s the first time Winnipeg and Minnesota have met in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The two teams met four times during the regular season, with Winnipeg going 3-1.

The Timberwolves close out the regular season Wednesday night against the Denver Nuggets at Target Center. A capacity crowd is expected for the 7 p.m. tipoff, as the loser will be eliminated from playoff contention. It’s Fan Appreciation Night, and it’s a chance for the Timberwolves to earn a playoff spot for the first time since the 2003-04 season.

It’s essentially a playoff game for the Timberwolves before the playoffs officially start. The Timberwolves had a chance to clinch a playoff spot after Monday night’s win over Memphis, but they didn’t get enough help to do so. San Antonio beat Sacramento, but the Nuggets kept their season alive with a win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

If the Timberwolves win, they lock up a playoff spot, but their seeding would depend on the outcomes of other games. They can be as high as fifth and as low as eighth, depending on tiebreakers with other Western Conference playoff teams. The ideal scenario is to avoid the No. 7 or No. 8 seed, which would mean they avoid playing Houston or Golden State in the first round.

But the focus for now is just on getting to the playoffs. It’s a place the Timberwolves haven’t been in 14 years. Quite simply, it’s the biggest game in the last 14 years of the Timberwolves franchise.

And oh by the way, the Minnesota Twins host the Houston Astros in their series finale at 12:10 p.m. at Target Field.


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