Wild Lose Eighth Straight, Fall 6-3 to Blues

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Wild Lose Eighth Straight, Fall to Blues 6-3

There isn’t much to write on this one. The Wild have packed it up for the season, pride be damned. Mikko Koivu had three assists, Antti Miettinen benefited on two of them, and Niklas Backstrom was left out to dry yet again, facing 47 shots against.

After the game, the media was asked to leave the locker room for a coaches meeting with the players. As of this writing, the meeting was still going on. More details as they become available.

Suffice to say, the Wild did not show up for another game. Frustrations are high, and there is nothing left to play for but pride. Looks like not even that at this point.

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Will the Wild ever Win Again? Wild vs Blues

Game preview from Hockey Wilderness. Please visit the game thread for full lineups and the five questions of the game.

In the most exciting match-up of the night, and the most exciting match-up in the Wild’s season, two teams will meet tonight to determine… absolutely nothing. Both teams are done for the year and playing out the string, and all that is left is some sense of pride. The Wild have lost seven straight, so it isn’t real clear how much pride is left.

The good news is, Zidlicky returns to the lineup, though with the game meaning nothing, let’s hope he is actually better and not playing for some sense of a final battle for the playoffs. At this point anyone who is hurt needs to just be shut down and allowed to heal up. It’s time.

What it takes to win this game? Does it even matter? OK, yes, it does. To win this, the Wild will need to find a way to put the last seven games behind them, find some pride, and man up. It is going to take just as much to beat the blues as it would to beat anyone else.

Halak is still a great goaltender, and the Blues have several weapons that can score at will. How they aren’t a playoff team is beyond imagination. A half-hearted effort won’t cut. If you want the Wild to win, hope for a solid game. If you want them to lose for draft position, well… hope for the opposite.

Enjoy the game. Only eight left.

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Wild Lose Again, Shutout by the Leafs

Wild re-cap from JS Landry of Hockey Wilderness. Check out the full re-cap for the three stars of the game, the answers to the five questions, and some game notes.

First of all, they allowed a fourth early-period goal in a row, and by early-period, I mean the first 2 minutes. They had allowed such a goal in all three periods against the Habs and they continued that trend tonight allowing a Joffrey Lupul at the 1:39 mark. Then, the Wild and Maple Leafs started collecting penalties because of the overuse of their sticks. The Wild got a total of 7 powerplays in the game, with a big fat ZERO percent success rate. The Leafs scored on one of their 6 chances. John Madden can’t say he didn’t get his chances, as he got stopped on the breakaway by Jason, er.. James ’’Optimus’’ Reimer on three separate occasions.

The second period was… pretty much more of the same. Teams take penalties, Leafs score off a wicked Mikhail Grabovski shot (I love him for making the Habs pay for misjudging his talent level), Wild running around like head-less chickens. It amazes me that the Wild got so many shots on net, and the Leafs so little. Problem is, apart from those breakaways, the quality of those shots were low and Reimer did the job. The third period? You guessed it! Penalties, Leafs goal off a powerplay one-timer slapped home by Carl Gunnarsson, fatigue, lack of ‘’Sorry Tom’’, pissed Wild fans, 3-0, good night, so long.

This was an all-around slow and uneventful game. The Leafs capitalized on their chances and the Wild… didn’t. The refs made some very questionable calls on both sides all night long and apart from all the penalties and some great hits on both sides, nothing really happened. The Leafs won, the Wild lost, ho hum. Truculence triumphed. I truly do not know what else to add, I’m actually stumped. I’m writing this recap with an empty mind, heart and soul right now, I’m just baffled by how badly the Wild stumbled in the last two weeks.

The Wild were listless. They’ve clearly not learned anything from Sunday night’s massacre and even though they outshot the Leafs, you can shoot 1000 pucks towards the net, but if they’re not going in the back of the net, they don’t matter. They looked like a team of bruised peaches, tired, weakened. Stick a fork in them, they’re done.

Well, the Wild humilated me in front of my friends on Sunday, yesterday I found out I need an extra semester to get my bachelor’s degree and tonight, the Leafs blanked the Wild. Tomorrow, I just might get hit by a car. Bryan, you stay out of this, you’re CURSED! After successfully predicting a 4 point performance for Rick Nash, he predicted a strong game for Carl Gunnarsson, who scored a goal. Don’t be trying to guess what happens to me tomorrow, unless I win the lottery.

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Wild Look to Rebound Against Leafs

Game preview from Hockey Wilderness. Please visit the game thread tonight for full lineups and the Five Questions of the Game.

After a thorough thumping at the hands of one Original Six team, the Wild get another shot at it tonight. The two schools of thought are these: One, they come out angry, pissed off at being embarrassed on their home ice and destroy the Leafs. Two, they come out defeated, no longer wanting to win nor caring what it takes to do so. Either way, it could be entertaining to watch it unfold.

Leafs GM Brian Burke prides himself on building a “truculent” team, and he has done a pretty good job of doing just that. Phaneuf, Komaserik, MacArthur, and the best of them all, Carl Gunnarsson. Having never heard of him, count on Gunnarsson to figure huge in this game, as is the Wild’s tradition.

Goaltender James “Don’t call me Reemer” Reimer has been an absolute revelation for the Leafs. 28 games, 2.59 GAA, .922 save %, 15-7-4 record. Ridiculous. After pinning their hopes on The Monster, Leafs nation now has what looks to be a true number one in the net. Too bad for JS Giguere, I guess. SInce Reimer was called up, the Leafs have gone from an embarrassment trolling the bottom of the standings to having an outside shot at the playoffs.

Of course, it is the East, so everyone except the Islanders still have a chance at the playoffs.

How do the Wild win this game? Well, the first step would be showing up. Hopefully someone from the Wild called them all and reminded them there was a game tonight. After showing up, they will need to play a good, solid 60 minutes to beat the Leafs. This is not a team the Wild are simply going to steamroll. They have size, they have grit, and they have scoring talent.

The Wild will need to find someone to step up and finish, because Optimus Reim is just not going to let in soft goals. It will take consistent pressure and crashing the net, which is not going to be easy with Phaneuf patrolling the front of the net. Maybe Inglewood Jack can give us a repeat performance of the time he beat the tar out of Phaneuf. At least that would be entertaining.

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Wild Week: What Now?

The Minnesota Wild are not officially eliminated from the playoffs. Their "tragic number" sits at 11, meaning any combination of the Wild losing points or the eighth place team winning points that adds up to eleven, and the Wild are done. With nine games remaining, eleven points doesn't take much to get to.

With just two games this week, the Wild do not have much of a chance to make up any ground on those in front of them, but they do have a chance to provide some much needed entertainment to their fans. Whether or not the Wild can make the playoffs, they still have a large group of fans that would love to watch them win a game or two.

On Tuesday, the Toronto Maple Leafs come to town, bringing their own desperate playoff fight. As with the Canadiens on Sunday, the Maple Leafs visit Minnesota just once every two years. The Leafs are another of the Original Six franchises, and fans will flock to the X to see them. The Wild beating them is another story completely. 

Will the desperation after being slaughtered make the Wild an angry, fired up team, or will they come out and show the emotionally depleted, steamrolled game they have been showing for two weeks? We'll find out on Tuesday.

To finish up the week, the Wild host the St. Louis Blues on Saturday afternoon. The Blues are five points behind the Wild in the standings, and have absolutely nothing left to play for except pride. The Wild have traditionally struggled against the Blues, but if the stars align, the Wild could really use the two points in this game. 

Regardless of playoff position, there are games left to be played. As has been seen, a team with nothing left to play for tends to actually play better than those under the stress of the fight. If the Wild are eliminated, they could put on a show and play out the stretch. Or, they could pack it in completely and leave fans frustrated.

Only time will tell.

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