This is the most critical juncture of the season, with teams crowded around the last few playoff spots hoping to snag a seat.
In recent weeks, the Wild has played with the urgency that matches that reality — picking up points to put it on the verge of a berth. But what the team insists isn't part of its in-house preparation is pressure.
"From the beginning of the year, we were picked to take last in the NHL or second-to-last in the NHL," goalie Alex Stalock said. "Two weeks ago, we were on the outside of the playoffs. Trade deadline, we moved some guys. I mean, what is there to lose at that point?
"We're going to have fun this last 20 games, we said. Let's keep it light. We've got guys that are playing with confidence. Yeah, pressure, you want to win games. But at the same time, it's a group in here that's been pegged to lose games since the beginning of the year. So, it's kind of us against whoever's counting us out, really, right now."