"To be playing in games like this this time of year, it's what you want. It's what you want as a competitor...to be playing in meaningful games for both teams and the intensity is up," Mike Yeo said prior to Saturday's game. The Wild snatched away a very much needed two points away from the Phoenix Coyotes Saturday night. The game had a very big importance on both sides. Phoenix, who was on a late charge to keep pace ahead of the Dallas Stars for the final wild card spot, wanted to make a statement at home that they were for real. Minnesota, who has been meandering since the trade deadline, was trying desperately to hold off the Coyotes to avoid and epic collapse for the ages.
While the two valuable points put them three ahead of the Coyotes and four ahead of the Stars who had a big 4-2 win in St. Louis on the same night. It gives the Wild a chance to exhale, if only for a minute. They are not out of the woods yet. I'm not sure if this is what Yeo meant by, "It's what you want." Their next seven games may be the toughest of any team trying to clinch a berth to the post-season.
|Los Angeles Kings||44-25-6||94 pts||3rd, Pacific|
|Chicago Blackhawks||42-18-15||99 pts||3rd, Central|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||47-22-5||99 pts||1st, Metropolitan|
|Winnipeg Jets||33-33-9||75 pts||7th, Central|
|Boston Bruins||51-17-6||108 pts||1st, Atlantic|
|St. Louis Blues||50-17-7||107 pts||1st, Central|
|Nashville Predators||32-32-11||75 pts||6th, Central|
If the Wild was looking for the hard way, they have it now thrust upon them. Five of the next seven games will all face an opponent that is not just hoping to make the playoffs, but has a berth secured.
The toughness of schedule for both the Coyotes and Stars pale in comparison to the Wild's. The Wild will have to steal some victories from some really good teams if they want to play further in to April.
Phoenix Coyotes remaining schedule:
Dallas Stars remaining schedule:
Last night's win was gigantic, but it won't mean a thing if the Wild cannot string together wins and hold their position these last 7 games.