The Wild have only one division championship in franchise history, the Northwest title from 2008, but they've emerged as a contender for the Central Division crown with two-plus weeks to go.

"We want to be first," said winger Matt Boldy, who scored a hat trick against the Kraken on Monday. "We want to win every game. To kind of have it start coming all together in a way and playing good hockey, it's exciting."

Dallas sat atop the Central for two months before the Wild ended that reign Saturday, their win coupled with a loss by the Stars to lift them into the top seed for the first time since Dec. 28, 2021.

But this isn't a two-team race: Defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado is also in the mix.

Like the Wild, the Avalanche played and won Monday night, in Anaheim, and these teams will go head to head Wednesday when the Wild begin a two-game road trip. Colorado and Dallas do have one game at-hand over the Wild, who have only eight contests left on their calendar.

Of the three rivals, the Wild and Avalanche would appear to have the toughest remaining schedules; the Wild and Colorado each have five games left vs. opponents in a playoff position. As for the Stars, they'll face only two teams in a playoff spot.

"If you're first place in the Central, it's a great year," winger Marcus Foligno said. "That's what we're all striving for. We know no matter what, playoffs are playoffs. It's always a tough road. You're always going to have battles. Just to see how hard we worked throughout the season to be in this position, it's a good feeling. We want the No. 1 spot."

Alumni spotlight

The Wild have launched an alumni association to help former players reconnect and provide opportunities with the organization on and off the ice.

Nearly 300 players have skated in a game for the Wild and more than 40 of those alumni currently live in Minnesota. A committee made up of select alumni, Wild front-office personnel, community members and local personalities will be created.

The team also announced a "Crazy Game of Hockey" charity event with the band O.A.R. and Grammy-nominated guitarist Cory Wong on July 7 and 8 in the Twin Cities to help promote the Wild Alumni Association.

There will be a celebrity hockey game at Tria Rink in St. Paul and a concert at the Armory in Minneapolis as well as a VIP event at the Pantages Theatre. Tickets are on sale and include admission to all three events.

Star power

Goaltender Filip Gustavsson was named the NHL's Third Star of the Week for the second time this season.

Gustavsson, who backed up Marc-Andre Fleury Monday vs. Seattle, went 2-0 last week while stopping 69 of the 71 shots he faced for a 0.96 goals-against average and .972 save percentage. Before helping the Wild to a 3-1 win over Chicago on Saturday, Gustavsson posted a career-high 47 saves during a 2-1 overtime victory at New Jersey last Tuesday; 25 of those stops came in the third period and overtime.

Injury update

John Klingberg missed a third consecutive game because of an upper-body injury, but the defenseman will travel with the Wild on their upcoming trip.

The team still made one switch on defense against the Kraken, subbing Jon Merrill in for Calen Addison.