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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.

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