Certainly a strange way to make the playoffs for a fourth consecutive year (see bottom chart for opponent possibilities).
3-0 loss, four consecutive defeats, but I digress because I don’t want to be negative.
Was weird to work the room postgame because it took 10 minutes to know if the Wild was in the playoffs or not.
When we interviewed Zach Parise, the Colorado-Nashville game was not yet over, so everything was speculative.
“If you get in, you get in,” Parise said. “If Colorado loses, we’re in. That’s the bottom line. We don’t want to have to rely on someone else to lose to get in, but hopefully that happens tonight and then enough with the negativity [from the media] and we can move forward.”
When we interviewed Mikko Koivu, the Colorado-Nashville game had just finished and the Wild was officially in the postseason dance.
“We’re in the playoffs,” Koivu said. “You earn every single point and every single team that’s in the playoffs, and we’re there, so we can talk about it like we won six in a row. That’s probably what brought us there. Why don’t we talk about that? Not losing tonight. We know we have to play better hockey. That’s the bottom line, but we’re in the playoffs. That’s great news for the organization, that’s great news for the team, that’s great news for the fans. All that is positive right now. Write that!”
Wild lost four in a row, haven’t held a lead in that stretch, have given up the first goal during the entire stretch but still get in because the Avalanche stunk worse down the stretch. Six of seven losses for the Avs, like the Wild, four in a row.
“Well we’re in the playoffs; that's the number one thing,” coach John Torchetti said. “Like I’ve said, I don't know how many weeks I’ve been here, but if I told everyone we were going to make the playoffs, everybody would be pretty excited about that moving forward. Not the way you want to go in it, but they did a hell of a job.”
The hope now, players and Torchetti said, is that everybody loosens up, refocuses and gets ready for the playoffs. It sounded like Torchetti felt the Wild ran out of gas a bit because of how hard it had to work down the stretch to get in. Remember, this was a team that a week ago was a league-best 15-6-1 to gain a five-point lead on the Avs.
Now, it’s 15-10-1, but Torchetti said, “I think everyone is missing the point. There have been different peaks and valleys, but the bottom line is we peaked at the right time and we got into the playoffs. That’s a big thing for the team.”
He added, “I’m kind of disappointed how everyone is saying we’re backing into the playoffs. How do you back into the playoffs going [15-10-1]? You don’t do that. The guys have done a great job. I’m proud of them. They could have folded when I got here too so I’m really proud of them.”
Lots of things need to be cleaned up in the week before the postseason starts. I’ll get into what those things are in my Thursday follow.
“We’ve got a lot of work that we need to do,” Parise said. “There’s just some areas of our play that aren’t good. That’s inexcusable in game 81. When we’re trying to prepare for the playoffs. you can’t play the last four games the way we have. That’s just, right now that’s not good.”
Added Ryan Suter, “Now we can relax a little bit and get our game together and focus on ourselves.
“Your goal during the season is to get into the playoffs and we’re in the playoffs. Now, our goal is to win the Stanley Cup. We have to prepare to be ready to try and accomplish that.”
Anyway, the Avs loss allowed the Wild to paint a rosy picture on the situation and tonight’s game as a whole. And the truth is, everything does reset now, so we’ll see what’s in store for the Wild in the next few weeks.
If you have ticket questions, see below. The Wild has Wednesday off, and I’m off Thursday. Kent Youngblood will be covering practice, so follow him on Twitter at @bloodstrib. I’ll be filling in for Paul Allen from 9-noon Thursday on KFAN though. Lots of Wild talk.
Lots more coverage on the horizon, folks. And one more regular-season game Saturday vs. Calgary.
MINNESOTA WILD CLINCHES FOURTH
CONSECUTIVE STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF BERTH
"GameDay Tickets" Best Shot at Playoff Tickets
SAINT PAUL, Minn. - The National Hockey League's Minnesota Wild has clinched a NHL Stanley Cup Playoff berth for the fourth consecutive season as a result of the Nashville Predators' 4-3 win tonight over the Colorado Avalanche. The schedule for Round 1 of the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs is expected to be announced by Sunday, April 10 upon the conclusion of the NHL's regular season.
Ticket availability for all 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff home games at Xcel Energy Center is expected to be extremely limited due to demand and priority access given to Minnesota Wild Season Ticket Holders.
Fans are encouraged to join the GameDay Tickets text notification list at wild.com/gamedaytix, designed to help fans get last-minute tickets to Wild home games that have limited availability. GameDay Tickets subscribers will immediately receive a SMS text message on Wild home playoff game days when pairs of tickets (or more), or single seats become available.
Wild’s possible opponents
The Wild secured its playoff berth Tuesday night, and it is locked into the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. It will play the No. 1 seed, which will be one of these three teams:
• Standing: 105 points, tied for first in Central
• Remaining games: Thursday vs. Colorado, Saturday vs. Nashville
• The skinny: The Stars are the Wild’s most likely opponent, because even if they finish in a tie with St. Louis, they own tiebreaker (46 regulation and overtime wins to the Blues’ 43).
• Record vs. Wild: Stars went 4-1, with three wins in OT.
• Standing: 105 points, tied for first in Central
• Remaining games: Thursday at Chicago, Saturday vs. Washington
• The skinny: Blues will play either the Wild or Chicago in the first round of the playoffs.
• Record vs. Wild: Blues went 3-2, with one win in OT.
Standing: 101 points, 3rd in Central
Remaining games: Thursday vs. St. Louis, Saturday at Columbus
The skinny: Blackhawks need to win out and have both St. Louis and Dallas lose out in regulation. Chicago would then have the tiebreaker.
Record vs. Wild: No wins and five losses (one in a shootout)