I’m fascinated by the daily update on various teams’ chances of reaching the postseason that are provided in many leagues, including the NHL.
In the end, I’m not sure they tell us a whole lot we didn’t already know — something we discussed on the debut episode of the North Score podcast, available on Startribune.com and shortly on iTunes as well — but they at least give us some snapshots of how a team is doing.
The Wild, for much of this season, was hovering at or below a 50 percent chance of reaching the postseason in the simulations run by both Hockey Reference and Sports Club Stats. Injuries and early lackluster play put the Wild in danger of missing the playoffs after five years in a row of making it in.
You might have noticed the Wild has been winning a lot more lately, though, and not surprisingly its odds have improved dramatically. It’s been a particularly meteoric rise lately as other Western Conference contending teams — such as St. Louis, which the Wild thumped 8-3 Tuesday — have started to falter.
The result? Minnesota now has a 95 percent chance of reaching the postseason, according to both sites. Of note, too, is the most likely scenario now is that the Wild gets in as the No. 3 team in the Central, not a Wild Card.
The Vikings and Twins already made the playoffs this past year. The Wolves have a 97 percent chance of making it, per 538. If the numbers hold up, all four teams will reach the postseason in succession for the first time ever.
Then again, all it takes is a few losses for the numbers to dip down into more dangerous territory.