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Wild Week: A Trip East

The Wild have a busy week ahead of them. Four games in the next seven days will leave the team wanting for one of those long breaks they saw in October and November. Three of these four games will be against Eastern Conference teams, giving the Wild a rare look at who they could face in the Stanley Cup Fin...

Sorry. Almost got that out without laughing.

The Wild start their trip tomorrow against the surprisingly hapless New Jersey Devils, who have been undercut by the monumentally stupid contract they gave star forward Ilya Kovalchuk this summer. The Devils have fired their coach, and brought in long time Wild head coach Jacques Lemaire to right the ship. Thus far, he has met with limited success, making some ask if they are beyond help.

Once they leave behind their old coach, the Wild head north a bit and into the arms of tradition. The Boston Bruins are one of the Original Six NHL franchises, and tradition oozes everywhere they go. The Bruins have ridden an 8-1-1 streak in their past ten into third place in the East. This will be far from an easy task for the Wild, as the B's have offense, the have defense, and they have goaltending.

If the Wild escape Boston with even a point, consider it a victory. Yet, it will be a short lived euphoria if there is any. After leaving Boston, the team runs face first into the Pittsburgh Penguins and Sidney Crosby. Traditionally, the Wild have played well against the Pens, limiting Crosby's chances, and with it, limiting the Pens chances to win. However, Sid the Kid is having a career year, and it will take a career game by everyone on the Wild bench to pull it off again.

After the joy ride out East concludes, the Wild get to come home for a couple days, as they host the Dallas Stars on Sunday. Think this is a respite? You'd be wrong. Dallas is having a very good year, and currently sits in third place in the West. However, despite struggling against the East this season (2-6-1), the Wild own the Pacific Division (6-2-2). The fans are always up for a return of the Stars, and the Wild usually answer with a solid game.

Hopefully, the Wild can use the momentum they gained against the Coyotes to get some wins out east and come home in a strong position to make their move.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.