Wild pummeled 6-1 at home with playoff berth on the line

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 27, 2013 - 8:55 AM

Niklas Backstrom gave up three goals on five shots early, leaving the Wild with one day left to clinch a playoff berth.

 

Cough. Cough. Cough.

That may be the sound of the Wild choking its season away.

The Wild never does things the easy way. So it was almost predictable that with a chance to clinch its first playoff berth in five years in front of the hometown fans, the Wild found a way against one of the supposed worst teams in hockey to get booed after 20 minutes, 40 minutes … a timeout … when the attendance was announced … and the final buzzer of a humiliating 6-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers.

“It was one of the weirdest games I’ve ever played in and obviously one of the most disappointing games I’ve ever been in,” veteran Matt Cullen said. “Bottom line, we got spanked in a game we absolutely needed to win.”

In a month where the term “must-win” has been overused, the Wild might face just that Saturday in Denver. If the Wild loses in regulation to the Colorado Avalanche in the regular-season finale, then Todd Richards, Marian Gaborik and the red-hot Columbus Blue Jackets can get into the playoffs by earning a point against the Nashville Predators.

For a team that was leading the Northwest Division on March 30 after winning eight of nine games, the Wild’s 4-9-1 April meltdown has it on the brink of disaster.

“We have a Game 7 [Saturday],” Cullen said. “This is where you show what you’re made of, this is what careers are made on and these are opportunities that you don’t get very often. ... It’s a Game 7 to get to the playoffs.”

One more loss though and there could very well be organizational shakeup, starting with coach Mike Yeo.

How bad did things get after the Wild gave up six goals on the first 11 shots?

A sickened Craig Leipold, the Wild owner, left his center-ice suite and watched much of the third period from General Manager Chuck Fletcher’s press-box booth.

This is not a normal occurrence. Leipold, who has one of the NHL’s highest payrolls and doled out $196 million in long-term contracts for Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, could be seen pacing and shaking his head in disgust. Fletcher, incidentally, didn’t appear to be in the booth.

“It’s not the way obviously that we wanted this to play out,” Yeo said. “I just want the focus on [Saturday]. We can talk about this one until we’re blue in the face. I don’t think it’s going to do us much good to do that.”

The Oilers, who had won once in its previous 20 visits to St. Paul, had lost nine of their previous 10 games, scoring 13 goals. But they struck three times in the first, stunning a crowd ready to party.

That party turned into a near-riot in the second when angry fans began mocking the Wild any time a save was made (even by Josh Harding, playing for the first time since complications with multiple sclerosis arose 10 weeks ago), a shot was taken or the public address announcer let it be known the period was mercifully nearing a conclusion.

“I don’t think anyone really knows what happened. They capitalized on every opportunity that they had,” said Kyle Brodziak, his team blown out despite outshooting Edmonton 39-17.

Niklas Backstrom gave up three goals on five shots and was replaced by Harding with the Wild trailing 3-0. Backstrom was 17-0 all-time at home against Edmonton.

Backstrom will start in Denver: “I’ve got total confidence in Backy to play that game. I’ve got total confidence in our group to play that game,” Yeo said. “This one hurts. I’ve seen this group respond enough, I’ve seen our leadership enough to still feel confident.”

Added Brodziak, “You just forget about this. [Saturday’s] a new day. We’re fighting for our lives now.”

 

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New Orleans 28 FINAL
Carolina 10
Tampa Bay 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Arizona 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Philadelphia 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Houston
NY Jets 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Jacksonville 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
San Diego 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Washington 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
St. Louis 11/2/14 3:05 PM
San Francisco
Denver 11/2/14 3:25 PM
New England
Oakland 11/2/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Baltimore 11/2/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Indianapolis 11/3/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 105 FINAL
Orlando 98
Detroit 91 FINAL
Minnesota 97
New York 95 FINAL
Cleveland 90
Utah 102 FINAL
Dallas 120
Oklahoma City 90 4th Qtr 0:02
LA Clippers 91
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
Buffalo 2
Winnipeg 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
Chicago 5 FINAL(SO)
Ottawa 4
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay 4
Arizona 1 FINAL
Florida 2
San Jose 3 FINAL(SO)
Minnesota 4
Anaheim 0 FINAL
St. Louis 2
NY Islanders 0 FINAL
Colorado 5
Montreal 2 FINAL(OT)
Vancouver 3
(2) Florida State 42 FINAL
Louisville 31
Troy 10 FINAL
Ga Southern 42
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:02 PM
Memphis
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
(19) Oklahoma 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Northwestern 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
(24) Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Maryland 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(21) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Purdue 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(17) Nebraska
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(20) West Virginia
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Texas State 11/1/14 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UNLV
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(4) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(7) Ole Miss
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:15 PM
(1) Miss State
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(5) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Texas 11/1/14 6:30 PM
Texas Tech
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(6) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Navy
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(14) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(18) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Bowling Green 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Akron
Toledo 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Kent State
Buffalo 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ohio U
Northern Ill 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ball State
(22) Clemson 11/6/14 6:30 PM
Wake Forest
Sporting Kansas City 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 2
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Ottawa 11/7/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Calgary 11/7/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Montreal 11/8/14 3:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 11/8/14 6:00 PM
Saskatchewan
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 Wild player?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close