At this time last week, the Minnesota Wild were languishing at the bottom of the Western Conference standings, battling it out for last place in the entire conference. As it stands today, after having a very good couple of weeks, the Wild now actually find themselves tied with the Phoenix Coyotes and the Los Angeles Kings for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with 47 points. Such is life in the tightly-bunched world of the NHL's Western Conference.
The Wild have three opportunities this week to gain more points, with one game on the road and two at home. Let's take a brief look at those, shall we?
The week for the Wild starts out on Tuesday, as they pack up and head to Nashville to take on the Predators. Nashville currently resides in second place in the Central Division and in fourth place in the Western Conference with 50 points, thanks to their 22-13-6 record on the season. Minnesota still sits in third in the Northwest Division, and their 21-16-5 record is good for 47 points thus far. These two teams have met twice this season, with both games having taken place in Minnesota. The Wild got a 5-2 victory over the Predators at the XCel Energy Center back on November 26, while the Predators got revenge on New Year's Eve with a 4-1 victory. The puck drops for this one at 7:00 PM Central time, and you'll be able to view all the action on KSTC.
Then the Wild will get two games in a row in St. Paul against Northwest Division foes, starting with the Colorado Avalanche on Friday, January 14. The Avs have a 21-15-6 record at the moment, with their 48 points putting them just one place ahead of the Wild at this point in time. The Wild have also taken on Colorado twice this season, but both of the games have taken place at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Colorado was victorious in a 7-4 shootout back on November 27, while the Wild notched a 4-1 victory back on December 23. Start time for this one is also 7:00 PM Central time, and you will also be able to watch all the action on KSTC.
To cap off the week, the Wild will play host to the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday, January 16. The Canucks, surprisingly (at least to this hockey fans) reside on top of not only the Northwest Division, but also the Western Conference and the entire National Hockey League with a 27-8-6 record giving them a whopping 60 points thus far on the year. The Wild have played Vancouver twice this season, but haven't seen the Canucks since late October. Minnesota got a 5-2 win over Vancouver in St. Paul on October 19, with the Canucks returning the favor with a 4-1 win in Vancouver just three days later. The festivities will get underway a little earlier for this one, with the opening face-off set for 5:00 PM Central. You'll be able to see this one on television on Fox Sports North.
That wraps up your week for the Wild, ladies and gentlemen. If you can't get out to St. Paul for whatever reason, be sure to check out the games on television.