The Minnesota Wild have been bouncing in and out of the NHL's Western Conference playoff race over the past couple of weeks and, unfortunately, if the season ended today, they would find themselves in the "out" category. The Wild currently have 75 points on the strength of a 34-25-7 record, which puts them in a three-way tie for ninth place in the Conference. But, as we know, only eight teams make the playoffs.
The Wild will have four opportunities this week to make up some ground. . .two against teams that are above them, and two against teams that are below them. Three of those four will also be on the road.
Minnesota will start out the week at home, however, as they host the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night. The 'Lanche have fallen on hard times recently, as they occupy the 14th spot in the 15-team Western Conference. Their 60 points come from a 26-31-8 record, and only the Edmonton Oilers keep them out of the West basement. This will be the sixth and final meeting between these two teams this season, with the Wild currently holding a 3-2 series lead. The previous five match-ups have gone like this:
November 27 at Colorado - Avalanche 7, Wild 4
December 23 at Colorado - Wild 3, Avalanche 1
January 14 at Minnesota - Avalanche 4, Wild 1
February 3 at Colorado - Wild 4, Avalanche 3
February 9 at Minnesota - Wild 3, Avalanche 2
This will be a nationally televised game by the folks at the Versus Network, and the puck will drop at the XCel Energy Center at 7:00 PM Central time.
Then the road trip begins, as the Wild head to Music City USA to take on the Nashville Predators on Thursday night. The Predators are one of the three teams tied with the Wild for ninth place in the conference, with their 75 points coming from a 33-24-9 regular season record. This will be the fourth and final time these two teams get together this season, and the Wild will be looking to even the season series at two games each. Here are the results of the previous three meetings:
November 26 at Minnesota - Wild 5, Predators 2
December 31 at Minnesota - Predators 4, Wild 1
January 11 at Nashville - Predators 5, Wild 1
Game start time in Nashville is set for 7:00 PM Central time, and you'll be able to see all of the action on Fox Sports North.
The Wild will have a quick turnaround, as they head to Texas to take on the Dallas Stars on Friday night. The Stars are just ahead of the Wild in the conference standings at the moment, with 77 points coming from a 35-23-7 regular season record. This will be the third time this season these two teams have met, and Minnesota is still looking to notch their first victory of the year over Dallas. The Stars scored a 4-3 overtime victory in Dallas when these two teams met on December 4, and shut out the Wild at the XCel Energy Center on January 9 by a score of 4-0. Start time for this one will be just a bit later, with the puck set to drop at 7:30 PM Central time, and this one will be on Fox Sports North as well.
The Wild will conclude the week on Sunday with a trip north of the border to take on the Western Conference-leading Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks 93 points, which lead not only the Western Conference, but the entire National Hockey League, come from a 42-16-9 record. The Wild have had good success against Vancouver this season, however, splitting the four match-ups between the two teams to this point.
October 19 at Minnesota - Wild 6, Canucks 2
October 22 at Vancouver - Canucks 5, Wild 1
January 16 at Minnesota - Wild 4, Canucks 0
February 15 at Minnesota - Canucks 4, Wild 1
With the game being on the West Coast, this one will get a bit of a late start, with the festivities set to begin at 9:00 PM Central time. You'll be able to catch this one on Fox Sports North as well.
Also, you'll be able to hear all of the games on the radio on WCCO-AM 830.
There's your look at the Minnesota Wild's schedule for this week. As the playoff chase heats up, we'll have all the coverage of it here at SB Nation Minnesota.