The NHL has clarified this morning that if the Wild win in regulation OR overtime tonight against the Winnipeg Jets (not just regulation) in tonight's home regular-season finale, it will clinch a playoff spot regardless of the Kings outcome at Vancouver. Originally, it was thought if the Wild won in overtime, the Kings would have to lose in regulation.
Winning in regulation or overtime tonight gets the Wild to 98 points and 41 ROW (regulation and overtime wins). Because Winnipeg plays Calgary one more time, there is no way both those teams could finish BETTER than 98 points and 41 ROW.
There is a scenario in which Winnipeg finishes with more than 98 points (99) AND Calgary ties the Wild with 98 points and 41 ROW, but the Wild would win the head-to-head tiebreaker with Calgary.
If the Wild wins in a shootout tonight, the Wild would have 98 points and 40 ROW and theoretically both Winnipeg and Calgary could finish ahead of the Wild. So a shootout win only gets the Wild a playoff spot tonight IF the Kings lose to the Canucks in any fashion.
Obviously, in a league where there are three-point games, loser points and non-shootout win tiebreakers, clinching scenarios get very complicated.
Mikko Koivu says he is definitely back tonight. He said his injury occurred in an off-ice accident and it was just too dangerous for him to play the other night. He said the docs did a great job and he is good to go. He said this time of year, it was obviously very tough to miss the Red Wings game.
Jordan Schroeder will be scratched tonight. Ryan Carter gets back in. Since coach Mike Yeo said yesterday he wanted to give Erik Haula a chance to respond from a bad game against the Red Wings, this was the predictable decision just because of Carter's size and physicality against the big, physical, very aggressive Jets plays into his identity as a player.
Matt Cooke says he's ready to return. Yeo said tomorrow's lineup at Chicago is up in the air and will be determined after tonight's game.
Assistant coach Darby Hendrickson said the next step for Jason Zucker is to start getting into battles with players wearing pads. If he's to play Thursday in Nashville, that would need to happen tomorrow in Chicago because the Wild isn't practicing Wednesday.
Yeo said he's confident Zucker will be able to return "very soon."
Huge game tonight, and probably a nailbiter.
Ten of the 11 meetings between the Wild and Jets have been one-goal games, and the other one by two had an empty-netter. The Wild is 6-2-3 against the Jets and 3-0-2 at home against the Jets.
The Jets have won seven of their past 10 overall.
Devan Dubnyk vs. Ondrej Pavelec. No Toby Enstrom for the Jets, or suspended Dustin Byfuglien.