Yes Minnesota is down 3-0 in its series with St. Louis. But no, it is not impossible for the Wild to come back to at least make it a series — or even win it, as has been done four times in NHL history and twice since 2010.
But if the Wild doesn’t manage to do that and, in fact, loses Game 4 Wednesday in St. Louis it will qualify as one of the meekest postseason forays in Minnesota sports history for a team that had true promise.
There were teams that lost in spectacular and/or heartbreaking fashion (hello, 1998 and 2009 Vikings), but those disappointments were not quiet. There were Minnesota teams that squeaked into the playoffs and were justifiably clobbered.
This Wild postseason so far feels more like these examples:
*1992 and 1994 Vikings: The Vikings under head coach Dennis Green made the playoffs eight times in 10 seasons, an impressive run of regular-season success. The early part of his tenure, though, was marked by constant one-and-done efforts — including two particularly frustrating ones in 1992 (his first season as head coach) and 1994.
In 1992, the Vikings went 11-5 and won their division. They had the home field advantage for their playoff opener against 9-7 Washington but lost that game 24-7. Quarterback Sean Salisbury’s final line from that game: 6 for 20, 113 yards and two interceptions.
In 1994, it was the same thing: Minnesota won the division and hosted the Bears on New Year’s Day. I was a college freshman at the U of M and drove through the night, back early from Christmas vacation in North Dakota, to attend that game. The Vikings lost 35-18. Steve Walsh outplayed Warren Moon at quarterback.
*2006-07 Wild: Until this season, the Wild of a decade ago stood as the best regular-season team in franchise history with 104 points. In the playoffs that year against a rugged Anaheim squad, the Wild lost the first three games 2-1, 3-2 and 2-1 and bowed out in five games.
*2006 and 2010 Twins: The 2006 Twins, in an informal Twitter poll, are the team that reminds fans the most of this year’s Wild in terms of playoff disappointment. Those Twins scrambled to win 96 games and take the division on the final day, only to get swept by Oakland despite having home-field advantage.
In 2010, the Twins again won the division and FINALLY had the home field advantage against the hated Yankees. Didn’t matter. That loaded team was swept quietly again, managing just seven runs and 21 hits in the three games combined.
*2001-02 Timberwolves: This was the sixth of seven consecutive first-round playoff exits for the Wolves before they finally broke through to the Western Conference Finals, and it was arguably the most disappointing.
The 2001-02 Wolves won 50 games but were swept by Dallas in the first round. Minnesota didn’t have a fourth-quarter lead in any of the three games and didn’t lead at any point in the series-clinching Game 3 loss at Target Center.