The Wild is surging in the second half of the season, strengthening a once-tenuous hold on reaching the playoffs for a sixth consecutive season.
The Timberwolves have been on a consistent trajectory all season to reach the playoffs, and even with some recent hiccups they’re almost a lock to make it for the first time since 2003-04.
Both teams have only reached the postseason in the same year one time, in 2002-03. The Wild started the playoffs April 10 that year and ended up making a deep run to the conference finals. The Wolves started April 20 and were bounced in six games by the Lakers. The teams played on the same date three times, including April 29 when they were both at home for a playoff game on the same date for the only time.
This season, though, could bring a convergence of schedules that would would turn the Twin Cities in mid-April into an exciting, chaotic playoff mess.
Here’s how it could happen:
*The NHL playoffs begin April 11, and if the league follows form with last season each of the first two games in each series — at the higher seeded team — will be played between April 11 and 14.
The Wild, if it makes the playoffs, will almost certainly start the postseason on the road. Minnesota is up to a 68 percent chance to make the playoffs after last night’s win, but just an 8 percent chance of finishing in the top two in the division and getting home ice advantage in the first round. That would mean Game 3 would be at Xcel Energy Center on either April 15 or 16, with Game 4 also there likely on April 17 or 18.
The NBA playoffs start April 14, meaning it’s likely each of the first two games in every series will be between April 14 and April 17.
If the Wolves manage to get a top four seed — hardly assured, but possible considering they are fourth in the West right now, just a half-game behind No. 3 San Antonio even after last night’s loss to Houston — they will have home-court advantage in the first round and have two home games in that four-date span.
Some NHL and NBA teams in the same market share an arena, but that’s not the case with the Wolves and Wild.
So if both teams make the playoffs, with the Wild as a bottom four seed and the Wolves as a top four seed, there will almost certainly either be one of the following scenarios:
Four nights of home playoff games between the two teams in a five-date span, alternating dates, between April 14 and April 18.
Two dates where both teams have home playoff games at the same time, which looks like it would be April 15 and April 17 based on how each league postseason schedule breaks. There could even be a day-night home playoff doubleheader on the 15th, a Sunday, since leagues schedule afternoon playoff games on weekends.
There would be plenty of chances for more overlap as the playoffs went on, if both teams advanced, but those early games have the most potential to create a dynamic week.
There are obviously a lot of ifs still involved in all this since both teams have 20-plus regular season games left. But imagine night after night of home NBA and NHL playoff games or having to pick between one or the other. Other markets have it all the time. Why not here?