Weekly Wild Whangdoodle: What Now?

Games this week:

The first Wild-Blues games this year were postponed due to the outbreak of COVID in the Wild roster.  One later meeting ended up getting pushed back due to Minneapolis curfews during the Chauvin trial and the protests of other police killings of black men.  Finally, the Avalanche had a COVID outbreak and needed to reschedule some games against St. Louis, so the Wild-Blues games got pushed back one more time and consolidated at the end of the season schedule.  So here we are. The Wild now have 9 games remaining, and 5 of them are against St. Louis.

It's been a strange season.

If the Wild win any one of those remaining five games against St. Louis, they will ensure that they finish above the Blues in the final standings, and can finish no lower than third in the division.

Current Standings:

RankTeamGPPtsMagic Number
1Vegas50740
2Colorado49700
3Minnesota50680
4St. Louis49536
5Arizona5250-
6San Jose5145-
7Los Angeles4944-
8Anaheim5239eliminated

The three teams at the top have all clinched playoff spots and now are only playing for the opportunity not to have to face one of the other two good teams in the West.

(Quick reminder - the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs this year are series within the divisions. #1 in the West plays #4 in the West, while #2 plays #3 in the first round.  Once the four divisions each have a playoff champion, they will be seeded and continue with the semifinal and final round of the playoffs).

Given the huge disparity between teams 1-3 and teams 4-8 in this division, the #1 seed is a pretty enticing reward. However, Minnesota needs a lot of things to go right to be near the #1 seed when this all shakes out.

Relevant games remaining for the #1 seed:

COLORADO @ VEGAS (April 28)
VEGAS @ MINNESOTA (May 3)
VEGAS @ MINNESOTA (May 5)
COLORADO @ VEGAS (May 10)

Las Vegas - 5 other games (2 home, 3 away - 2 ARI, 2 STL, 1 SJ)
Colorado - 8 other games (4 home, 4 away - 4 SJ, 4 LA)
Minnesota - 7 other games (5 home, 2 away - 5 STL, 2 ANA)

Unless the Kings or Sharks get really hot really fast, I don't see how Minnesota catches both teams. Here's a scenario that puts the Wild in first place:

MIN -- 8-1 (81 points)
LV -- 5-4 (80 points)
COL -- 7-3 (80 points)

Las Vegas as a .500 team and Colorado dropping multiple games to San Jose and/or LA just doesn't seem likely. Not to mention a projected 8-1 record doesn't leave much room for error.

Kirill Kaprizov Corner

Scoring when he's the only Wild player in the offensive zone? Yep.

Doing horrible things to this Kings defenseman? Check

(Watch his hips on this goal.  Kaprizov convinces the D-man that he's going to try and cut to the middle by turning his hips without changing the direction he's moving. As soon as the defenseman slows to cut off that angle, it's a quick puck between the legs and turn on the jets to get to the net.  It's like the anti-Shakira move. It's so pretty.)

Somehow finding a literal acre of space to set up and bury this Fiala pass?  Check.

Leaderboards

PlayerGPlayerAPlayerPtsPlayerxGAR
Kaprizov23Greenway24Kaprizov43Kaprizov15.3
Fiala19Kaprizov20Fiala37Eriksson Ek11.7
Eriksson Ek17Zuccarello20Zuccarello 31Spurgeon9.3
Zuccarello11Fiala18Greenway30Sturm8.3
Foligno10Suter/Soucy16Eriksson Ek27Fiala7.9

13 thoughts on “Weekly Wild Whangdoodle: What Now?”

    1. Yep, not great.

      In game #48, that was the first regulation loss this year for the Wild when they were leading after two periods (19-1-2). One of those overtime losses was also to the Blues.

      They are now 27-3-3 when tied or leading after 2.

      (Edited to add: I think it's amazing the Wild are 27-7-3 when leading or tied after the first period. That seems like really good numbers)

  1. I can't ever remember a time in Wild history where they had this many players who could pass and shoot. The only thing I ever remember watching Wild Hockey is dump and chase, and having defense men take low percentage shots in hopes of a redirect or easy rebound.

    That said, that Sturm redirect was ridiculous. Puck was going 10 feet wide of the net.

    1. Yes, how quickly Zach Parise went from key offensive contributor (gritty possession forward who digs pucks out and scores by standing in front of the net for tips and rebounds) to expendable fourth-line winger speaks volumes to how much their passing and shooting took off this season (and it's really three guys - Zuccarello, Kaprizov, and Fiala).

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