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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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Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Brooklyn 109 FINAL
Boston 107
Cleveland 98 FINAL
Orlando 89
Indiana 109 FINAL
Detroit 119
Milwaukee 107 FINAL
Atlanta 77
Houston 117 FINAL
Memphis 111
San Antonio 90 FINAL
New Orleans 97
Charlotte 75 FINAL
Oklahoma City 98
LA Lakers 98 FINAL
Dallas 102
Minnesota 102 FINAL
Denver 106
Philadelphia 93 FINAL
Portland 114
Phoenix 115 FINAL
Sacramento 106
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
(15) Arizona State 1:10 PM
Duke
Miami-Florida 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
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