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Tuesday (Time to find out what Wolves, Wild are made of) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand under Wild coaching, Wolves news Updated: January 21, 2014 - 9:54 AM

 

The Wolves and Wild have had, in some ways, parallel seasons. How they arrived where they are right now has been slightly different, but here's what we know:

 

Both teams dispatched inferior opponents at home on Saturday to build some momentum. Both will play those exact teams on the road tonight (Utah for the Wolves, Dallas for the Wild). And both of those games kick off a mini-stretch of games that will tell us a lot about how the rest of the season could very well go.

For the Wolves, it kicks off a stretch of four consecutive games on the road. Minnesota is 7-13 away from Target Center this season. The game against the Jazz is very winnable. The next two -- at Golden State and at Portland -- will be difficult tests. The last one, at Chicago, is again very winnable now that the Bulls are in full rebuild mode without the injured Derrick Rose and after trading Luol Deng. If Minnesota clamps down on defense like it did at home against the Jazz, a 2-2 trip should be easy to find. A 3-1 trip that brings the team back to .500 would be within reach. But if the Wolves again struggle to be consistent, a 1-3 or even 0-4 trip that could bury them in the standings is very much in play.

For the Wild, the game at Dallas needs to yield two points. The Stars are below Minnesota in the standings, so it's a chance to bury them. But the game also represents the best chance for success during a brutal stretch. Minnesota's next four games after Dallas: home vs. Chicago, then at San Jose, Anaheim and Colorado. Those are four of the top five teams in the West, and three of the games are on the road. With Minnesota clinging to a spot in the playoffs -- tied with Vancouver in the 7th/8th spot, with Phoenix just four points behind (and having played two fewer games than the Wild -- this is a critical stretch. If the Wild, playing with Darcy Kuemper as its No. 1 goalie, comes through this with enough points and confidence, it could be a springboard to better times ahead. If Minnesota gets its doors blown off, it could start a slide.

It all starts tonight, with games both teams very much need to win.

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NY Mets 4 FINAL
St. Louis 5
Pittsburgh 4 FINAL
Minnesota 2
St. Louis 1 FINAL
Washington 1
Boston - LP: C. Buchholz 2 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: J. Teheran 4
NY Yankees 10 FINAL
Philadelphia 0
Tampa Bay 0 Cancelled
Baltimore 0
Detroit 1 FINAL
Toronto 4
Chicago WSox 3 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 6
Texas 6 FINAL
Oakland 7
Cleveland 2 FINAL
Arizona 3
Arizona 7 FINAL
LA Angels 2
Miami 0 Cancelled
Houston 0
Seattle 0 Top 4th Inning
Kansas City 2
San Francisco 9:05 PM
Los Angeles
Colorado 9:05 PM
San Diego
Milwaukee 9:05 PM
Cincinnati
Detroit 111 FINAL
Orlando 97
LA Clippers 119 FINAL
Philadelphia 98
Charlotte 101 1st OT 0:46
Washington 101
Boston 86 4th Qtr 3:29
New York 77
Cleveland 96 4th Qtr 0:46
Brooklyn 103
LA Lakers 81 4th Qtr 0:45
Toronto 94
Miami 86 4th Qtr 0:01
Atlanta 99
Golden State 85 4th Qtr
Memphis 65
Sacramento 70 4th Qtr 9:07
New Orleans 82
Minnesota 78 3rd Qtr 1:03
Houston 85
Dallas 41 3rd Qtr
San Antonio 54
Utah 22 2nd Qtr 7:08
Denver 35
Portland 9:00 PM
Phoenix
Calgary 1 3rd Prd
Minnesota 1
Columbus 4 2nd Prd 12:41
Chicago 2
Dallas 0 1st Prd 13:55
Edmonton 1
UCLA 62 FINAL
Gonzaga 74
NC State 65 FINAL
Louisville 75
Utah 8:53 PM
Duke
Kent State 9:00 PM
Northern Ariz
Michigan State 9:15 PM
Oklahoma
(15) North Carolina 65 FINAL
(3) South Carolina 67
(18) Iowa 66 FINAL
(5) Baylor 81
(9) Arizona State 8:30 PM
(7) Florida State
(14) Stanford 9:00 PM
(2) Notre Dame

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