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.


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


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


Los Angeles - LP: C. Frias 2 FINAL
Colorado - WP: J. De La Rosa 16
San Francisco - WP: S. Romo 4 FINAL
Arizona - LP: A. Reed 2
Boston - LP: C. Buchholz 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: F. Liriano 9
Toronto - LP: J. Happ 1 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: B. Norris 6
Washington - LP: R. Detwiler 1 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: A. Wood 3
Miami - WP: H. Alvarez 4 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: D. Gee 3
NY Yankees - WP: B. McCarthy 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: A. Cobb 2
Cincinnati - LP: D. Corcino 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: K. Hendricks 3
Chicago WSox - LP: C. Sale 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 6
Cleveland - WP: C. Carrasco 2 FINAL
Houston - LP: B. Oberholtzer 0
Detroit - LP: D. Price 4 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: K. Gibson 8
Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers 0 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright 2
Seattle 0 Bottom 6th Inning
LA Angels 0
Texas 0 Bottom 5th Inning
Oakland 0
Philadelphia 4 Top 5th Inning
San Diego 1
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question