Stage is set for Wild: Win Friday, make playoffs

  • Article by: RACHEL BLOUNT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 26, 2013 - 9:16 AM

A victory tonight in the home finale would clinch a playoff berth.

hide

Zach Parise reached the playoffs in six of his seven seasons with the New Jersey Devils.

Photo: CARLOS GONZALEZ • cgonzalez@startribune.com ,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

Mike Yeo admitted he was curious enough to watch on TV Thursday night as Columbus played at Dallas in a game that could have stamped his team’s ticket to the NHL playoffs. At the same time, the Wild coach insisted the outcome would have no bearing on his plans going forward.

Several hours before the Blue Jackets won 3-1, preventing the Wild from clinching a playoff berth, Yeo already was urging his players to view Friday night’s game against Edmonton as a must-win situation. A victory at Xcel Energy Center will give the Wild its first postseason berth since 2008. To get it, Yeo said, his players must maintain the strides they made in Tuesday’s slump-busting victory over Los Angeles, which still was lifting their mood.

At a lively practice Thursday, the one somber note for the Wild was the absence of Jason Pominville. The winger’s sweater and skates hung untouched in his locker, two days after he absorbed a wicked elbow to the face courtesy of the Kings’ Dustin Brown. The Wild has not elaborated on the injury, and Yeo said he had no update on Pominville’s condition other than to declare his status day-to-day.

On the other side of the emotional ledger, winger Mike Rupp participated fully in practice, fueling hope that he might return after missing four games because of a lower-body injury. And Yeo was pleased to see an attitude similar to the one the Wild displayed before it dispatched the Kings: a blend of concentration and commitment, without the anxiety that can wreak havoc in a playoff race. That will be critical, he said, to setting the proper tone for Friday’s game and beyond.

“What has impressed me the last couple of days with this group is that we’ve acted like we’ve been here before,’’ Yeo said. “It’s important that you’re intense and you’re ready to play the game. But there has to be a certain degree of looseness and confidence to the way you play the games, and I feel we’ve had that.

“The guys were spot-on as far as focus in the last game. That’s going to be really important [Friday], so we have to be ready to do the same thing.’’

In the Oilers, the Wild face a reeling opponent that has lost nine of its past 10 games and has the league’s fifth-worst record at 17-22-7. They will be among the 14 teams participating in Monday’s NHL draft lottery in Toronto, rather than continuing their season in the playoffs.

Goaltender Devan Dubnyk called out his team after a 4-1 loss to league-leading Chicago on Wednesday, telling the Edmonton Journal that the Oilers’ recent play has been “frustrating and unacceptable.’’

Just last Sunday, Wild winger Zach Parise expressed frustration at his team’s shortcomings after a 4-1 loss to Calgary. The 2-1 defeat of the Kings, which ended a five-game winless streak at home, shifted the players’ attitudes.

Parise and center Kyle Brodziak both cited the defensive play of the Wild’s forwards, who pressured the Kings into turnovers and fulfilled Yeo’s mission of being a tough team to play against. Brodziak said the victory served as an important reminder of what the Wild can achieve when players do not stray from their duties. That, he noted, should prompt all of them to seek their peak as the playoffs approach.

“That win was probably one of the biggest games I’ve ever been part of in my life,’’ Brodziak said. “It made the last two days more enjoyable, but we still have to focus. [Friday’s game] is just as big as the last game. We’ve got to get back on the horse and go back at it.’’

Parise, who made the playoffs with New Jersey in six of the past seven seasons, concurred. “We want to make sure we’re playing the right way and we’re getting good habits going into the playoffs,’’ he said. “You don’t want to just limp in. It’s an important time for us as a team and, I think, as an organization. We really need to play our best hockey right now. ’’

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tennessee 7:25 PM
Jacksonville
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 7:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 7:30 PM
Houston
Milwaukee 9:00 PM
Sacramento
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
Golden State
Florida 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Colorado 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Toronto 6:00 PM
Carolina
Washington 6:00 PM
Columbus
Anaheim 6:30 PM
Montreal
St. Louis 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Edmonton 9:30 PM
San Jose
St Thomas (TX) 8 1st Half 10:35
Rice 16
Stony Brook 6:00 PM
Canisius
Temple 6:00 PM
Delaware
FIU 6:00 PM
Long Island
Lehigh 6:00 PM
Quinnipiac
South Alabama 6:00 PM
Richmond
Seton Hall 6:00 PM
South Florida
Ga Southern 6:00 PM
Stetson
Yale 6:00 PM
Vermont
Cleveland State 6:00 PM
Virginia
Wright State 6:00 PM
Western Carolina
Nicholls 6:30 PM
Louisiana Tech
Morgan State 6:30 PM
Rider
Idaho State 6:30 PM
South Dakota St
Oakland City 7:00 PM
Austin Peay
Eureka 7:00 PM
Bradley
Appalachian St 7:00 PM
Charlotte
Connecticut 7:00 PM
Duke
Southern Miss 7:00 PM
Jackson State
Coastal Carolina 7:00 PM
Ole Miss
Montana State 7:30 PM
South Dakota
LSU 8:00 PM
UAB
Ohio 8:05 PM
Evansville
CS-Dominguez 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Walla Walla 9:00 PM
Idaho
DePaul 9:00 PM
Oregon State
Nevada 9:00 PM
Pacific
Portland State 9:00 PM
San Francisco
CS-Bakersfield 9:05 PM
Utah State
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Niagara 69 2nd Half 1:05
Cleveland State 55
High Point 53 2nd Half 4:48
VA Commonwealth 66
Towson 45 2nd Half 9:08
Wake Forest 58
Presbyterian 20 2nd Half
Charlotte 24
Chicago State 29 1st Half 0:30
Bradley 31
Northwestern Coll 23 1st Half 0:03
Drake 52
Vanderbilt 12:00 PM
Marquette
Temple 4:00 PM
Howard
Southern Miss 4:00 PM
Ole Miss
UMBC 4:00 PM
Rider
Miami-Florida 5:00 PM
UCLA
St Mary-KS 5:00 PM
South Dakota
William & Mary 5:00 PM
Wofford
Troy 5:30 PM
Evansville
Loyola Marymount 6:00 PM
USC
St Francis-PA 6:00 PM
Duquesne
Indiana-Southeast 6:00 PM
IUPUI
Delaware State 6:00 PM
Detroit
Tenn Temple 6:00 PM
Gardner-Webb
West Virginia St 6:00 PM
Radford
Fairfield 6:00 PM
Seton Hall
Dartmouth 6:00 PM
New Hampshire
Ball State 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Jacksonville 6:00 PM
Tennessee St
Trine 6:00 PM
Western Mich
Tenn Tech 6:30 PM
Lipscomb
Samford 7:00 PM
Tulane
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Incarnate Word 7:00 PM
TX-Pan American
Ark-Little Rock 7:00 PM
South Dakota St
CS-Northridge 7:30 PM
Northern Ariz
Santa Clara 8:00 PM
Oregon
(19) Oklahoma St 8:00 PM
Weber State
Washington 8:00 PM
San Diego State
Cal Poly 8:00 PM
New Mexico
(10) Louisville 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close