Last week, we posted an assessment of which team had the better chance of making the playoffs -- the Timberwolves or the Wild. In reality, both have good shots of making it this season. That said, in that post we also outlined a few big unknowns as the season moves along. The key ones for each team:
Wolves: Will they be able to keep up the defensive intensity.
Wild: Can Josh Harding keep up his pace? Will there be too many stretches where they don't bury chances?
Last night was just one night, but it was the kind of night where both teams had those questions exposed as potential flaws.
The Wolves got sloppy in the second half and gave up way too many easy baskets to Washington in a 104-100 loss -- a game they led by 16 and should have won.
The Wild was blown out in Montreal as Harding tried gamely to keep them in it but was eventually pulled. Darcy Kuemper gave up three goals in relief in a 6-2 loss, underscoring the team's precarious goaltending depth right now. It should also be noted that the Wild has scored just 12 goals in its past six games, a poor output even though it had been 4-0-1 in its previous five before Tuesday.
In the case of both the Wolves and Wild, it was just one night. But it was one night when both on TV and clearly struggling with issues that very well could determine the relative success of their seasons.