The Minnesota Wild continue their three game road trip tonight with a hurting group. Matt Cullen is out, Dany Heatley is out, and the team's pride is nowhere to be found. To be fair, no one is making excuses, or using the injuries as a crutch to forgive their play. Still, there is only so many times you can hear "We have to play better" before you expect them to actually, you know, play better.
For four or five games, the Wild were not playing well, but were finding ways to win. They hit a skid, but course corrected and pulled it back together. Then, their GM gave them a huge boost and brought in a true top line right wing, and the team still hasn't got it all pulled back together. Jason Pominville was a non-factor against the Kings, though the top line did get a few good looks.
The Wild visit the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight, and are being "welcomed" by none other than Marian Gaborik in his first home game on his new team. Gaborik was traded to the Jackets on deadline day, a move no one saw coming from the Rangers, and few expected Gaborik to sign off on. Still, there he is, sitting on the bench with Todd Richards, on a team just three points out of the playoff race.
While the Jackets have traditionally been a punch line, the Wild will need to be on top of their game tonight, and they have always struggled with the Jackets, and this year, the Jackets are for real. Well... semi-for real.
The Wild need these points pretty bad, as they are now four points behind the Canucks for the NW crown, and just four points up on eighth in the West. This is what a playoff push feels like, folks. Everyone on board?
Game time is 5PM, on FSN.
Swarm @ Wings
The Minnesota Swarm are coming off of a huge win against the Buffalo Bandits at the X last night. The 21 goals from the Swarm was a team record, as was the 14 point margin of victory. The team has found its groove recently, and cannot be a welcome sight for the final three opponents to see on their schedule.
Tonight, they are in Philadelphia to face a Wings team they put a hurting on last week, defeating the Wings 20-11, in a game that was not even that close. The Swarm are pulling themselves out of the gutter, one game at a time. Two big losing streaks this season have them in second to last in the West, or in second place, depending on how you want to read it) but just a game and a half away from the three way tie for first.
Eight of the nine teams in the NLL make the playoffs, and the Swarm are currently sitting with the sixth seed. They cannot afford to let off the gas now, just one game away from .500 on the season, a respectable mark in the ultra competitive NLL West.
Keep an eye on this team if you are not already. It's going to be a fun ride to the end.
Game time is 3PM, and you can watch online at MNSwarm.com/SwarmVision.
Enjoy the games, all.