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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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Houston 1 FINAL
Miami 1
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Minnesota 7
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Detroit 4
Baltimore - WP: T. Wilson 10 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: S. Baker 2
Boston 9 FINAL
Tampa Bay 6
Toronto 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 8
Atlanta 5 FINAL
Toronto 3
Washington 2 FINAL
NY Mets 10
Chicago Cubs 5 FINAL
Cincinnati 9
San Diego 3 FINAL
Texas 2
San Francisco 9 FINAL
Seattle 8
Colorado 4 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 18
Cleveland 3 FINAL
Milwaukee 2
Oakland 10 FINAL
Chicago WSox 4
Los Angeles 5 FINAL
LA Angels 4
Kansas City 10 FINAL
Arizona 5
Atlanta 100 FINAL
Charlotte 115
New York 80 FINAL
Chicago 111
Golden State 108 FINAL
Milwaukee 95
Oklahoma City 89 FINAL
Utah 94
Denver 114 FINAL
Portland 120
Nashville 4 FINAL
Washington 3
Arizona 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
San Jose 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 2
Anaheim 3 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Boston 4
Tampa Bay 0 FINAL
Detroit 4
New Jersey 1 FINAL
Carolina 3
Florida 2 FINAL(OT)
Montreal 3
Ottawa 3 FINAL(OT)
Toronto 4
Los Angeles 1 FINAL
Minnesota 4
Columbus 4 FINAL
St. Louis 2
Buffalo 3 FINAL
Colorado 5
Dallas 4 FINAL(OT)
Vancouver 3
Arizona 78 FINAL
Wisconsin 85
Canisius 73 FINAL
NJIT 78
Notre Dame 66 FINAL
Kentucky 68
San Jose 1 FINAL
New England 2
Orlando City 2 FINAL
Montreal 2
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
D.C. 1
Sporting Kansas City 1 FINAL
New York City 0
Red Bull New York 2 FINAL
Columbus 1
Portland 1 FINAL
Vancouver FC 2
Colorado 0 FINAL
Houston 0
Seattle 0 FINAL
FC Dallas 0
Texas 54 FINAL
(1) Connecticut 105
Dayton 82 FINAL
(8) Louisville 66
(16) Duke 55 FINAL
(4) Maryland 65
Gonzaga 69 FINAL
(6) Tennessee 73
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