WASHINGTON, D.C. – The race for the second and final wild card berth in the Western Conference got more complicated while the Wild was idle this week, with the Colorado Avalanche taking possession after tying the Arizona Coyotes at 78 points.
But the Wild can still jump both teams Friday to regain a playoff spot with a win Friday over the Capitals at Capital One Arena.
“We gotta take advantage of it,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “It’s up to us. It’s up to the boys in the room. If they play the right way like we did against Tampa, good things are going to happen.”
That the Wild still can control its destiny with just eight games left after falling behind the playoff pace may seem surprising, but this is exactly the position Boudreau expected the team to be in at this juncture of the season.
“The bottom line is at some point, when you’re under 10 games to go in the season, you have to do it for yourself and you can’t hope for somebody else,” he explained, “because eventually, especially with the amount of teams that are playing, somebody’s going to win.”
Forward Matt Read joined the Wild on the ice Friday after getting recalled Thursday under emergency conditions. It’s possible, though, his recall becomes the fourth and final recall if he plays and someone is a healthy scratch. Winger Pontus Aberg skated late Friday, along with defenseman Nick Seeler.
“That’s a decision in the afternoon,” Boudreau said. “I’ll talk to [General Manager] Paul [Fenton] when he gets here and see what the situation is.”
Zach Parise-Eric Staal-Kevin Fiala
Jordan Greenway-Luke Kunin-Ryan Donato
Jason Zucker-Victor Rask-Matt Read
Marcus Foligno-Eric Fehr-J.T. Brown
Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin-Greg Pateryn
Anthony Bitetto-Brad Hunt
8-3-2: Record for the Wild in its last 13 road games.
33: Points for winger Zach Parise on the road, tops on the Wild.
12-4-2: Record for goalie Devan Dubnyk in his last 18 road starts.
74: Points for center Eric Staal in 77 career games vs. the Capitals.
2: Goals and an assist for Washington defenseman Dmitry Orlov in a 5-2 Capitals win over the Wild Nov.13.
About the Capitals:
Washington is leading the Metropolitan Division with 94 points, three ahead of the New York Islanders. The Capitals are coming off an overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning Wednesday. They’ve won eight in a row against the Wild. Captain Alex Ovechkin leads the NHL in goals with 48. He’s two shy of 50, the eighth time in his career he’s reach that plateau.