Standings notwithstanding, the Minnesota Wild could quickly reenter the playoff picture. The Wild will try to close the gap Thursday against 27-20-11 Florida, which has lost three straight on a four-game home stand, getting outscored 10-3 in the process. Overall the Panthers have dropped five of seven but are clinging to the Southeast Division lead.
Minnesota, meanwhile, is coming off an impressive 2-0 win over the Boston Bruins which finally laid to rest MInnesota's losing streak. Boston is the third-highest scoring team in the league and has an NHL-best plus-60 goal differential, but the Wild were able to hold on for the shutout, their fourth of the season.
That's not to say that the Wild are destined for a W against Florida. There are still concerns, namely an inability to score, especially on the road: Minnesota hasn't scored more than one goal in a road game all month.
At 26-24-9, Minnesota is currently in 12th place in the West, landing there on the heels of an eight-game losing streak that mercifully ended Sunday. Despite the skid, though, it wouldn’t take much for the Wild to sneak back into the top eight.
For starters, they have played 59 games, which is at least one fewer than the Nos. 4 through 11 teams (and two fewer than Nos. 11 and 8). What’s more, Minnesota is just five points out of the eighth spot, which is currently occupied by the Los Angeles Kings.
Thursday’s game starts at 7:30 ET and will be on Fox Sports.
For more on the Minnesota Wild, check out Hockey Wilderness. You can check out more hockey news from around the league at SB Nation’s NHL page.