With a little less than a month to go in their remaining respective regular seasons, the Wild and Timberwolves are each engaged in interesting playoff races.
Both of them look like good bets to make it; the Wolves did themselves a big favor with back-to-back wins over Golden State and Washington, pushing their playoff chances up to 95 percent (per Basketball Reference). The Wild’s two-game slide, including yet another lopsided loss to Colorado, made things a little tougher on the NHL side, but Minnesota still has an 87 percent chance of getting in (per Hockey Reference).
If they both get in, as I’ve been writing about for a couple of months now, it will mark the first time in Minnesota sports that the Twins, Vikings, Wolves and Wild made the postseason in one consecutive sequence. The only other season both the Wolves and Wild made it was 2002-03.
That could make for an interesting April. For now, though, there are races to watch. The playoff races in each league are obvious, but there’s also this: the unofficial race between the Wild and Timberwolves to see which finishes the year with more wins.
After Tuesday night’s Wolves win and Wild loss, the Wolves have 40 wins in 69 games while the Wild has 39 wins in 70 games. Both seasons are 82 games long, so this is truly an apples to apples comparison (even if the sports are apples to oranges).
It’s not really significant other than a curiosity point. These teams don’t have any sort of traveling trophy that goes to the franchise with the most wins every year (though that’s not a bad idea).
If they did, it would have sat unmoved in St. Paul since 2003-04. In that season, the Wolves won 58 games while the Wild won just 30. In every full season since then — when each team had 82 games without any work stoppages (10 seasons in all) — the Wild finished with more wins than the Wolves. The closest race was 2013-14, when the Wild won 43 and the Wolves won 40.
The Wolves have the edge this year, with one more win so far and one extra game remaining. I say if the Wolves win more games this season, they should create a trophy and plop it in the lobby of Target Center.