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Wilderness Walk: Second-Season Edition

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Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

The Minnesota Wild came out strong last night but went to sleep pretty quickly after taking an early 3-1 lead against the Nashville Predators. The eventual 7-3 outcome, to me at least, is not as troubling as it might appear on the surface. The Wild were in a position where they were essentially playing to not get hurt, and the Predators were playing for pride and to leave their season with a less sour taste in their mouth after missing the playoffs.

So the season is over, and your Minnesota Wild finish with a record of 43-27-12 earning them 98 points on the year which ties them for the 2nd most in franchise history. The Wild also notched 98 points in the 2007-2008 season and that is topped by the Wild's lone 100+ point season in 2006-2007 when they amassed 104 points. For the second time in franchise history the Wild we make appearances in the playoffs when they kick off their series against the Colorado Avalanche this Thursday.

Some quick notes about the upcoming series for you folks. The Wild have won a series against the Avalanche way back in the magical run of 2003 when Andrew Brunette sent then Avalanche goalie Patrick Roy into retirement (and there was much rejoicing). The next time these teams met in the post-season was in 2008 and the Av's dispatched the Wild in 6 games in a series that didn't even feel that close. Interesting tidbit about these two series, in 2003 when the Wild beat the Av's, it was the Av's who won the Northwest Division that year. In 2008 when the Av's beat the Wild, it was the Wild who won the Northwest Division that year. So, logically, since the Avalanche have won the Central Division this year, we should be in for a happy ending to this upcoming series.

Of course, you can't really predict what is going to happen based off of past performances, but I still believe the Wild will be victorious in this round of the playoffs, and I'm not the only one.

So the regular season is over, the Wild have improved each season they have not fired Mike Yeo (based on winning %) and we are in our 2nd consecutive playoffs after missing the previous 5 post-seasons. Let us walk, but first, a little reminder of how Patrick Roy got his current job.

Wild News

Wild fails to hit the 100-point mark | Star Tribune
Well that game certainly fell apart in a hurry now didn't it? Despite the loss the Wild will still be in the playoffs and with the Blues losing yesterday afternoon we knew before the puck dropped tonight who we would be playing after last nights meaningless game.

Predators 7, Wild 3: Ilya Bryzgalov shaky in final playoff tune-up -
As far as the standings are concerned, the Wild's 7-3 loss to the Nashville Predators on Sunday night at the Xcel Energy Center was meaningless.

Wild lose in ugly fashion in 7-3 loss at home to Nashville finish regular season | State of Hockey News
The State of Hockey News breaks down last nights action like only they can.

Wild turns page on regular season and looks toward playoffs vs. Colorado | Russo's Rants |
The Wild will look to forget last nights loss with the knowledge they get to play again on Thursday.

Tom Powers: Wild agitator Matt Cooke already in playoff form -
Tom Powers once again has me thinking about The Simpsons with this conversation about Matt Cooke the agitator. Now where is my hair dryer?

Wild draws Colorado in first round of playoffs | Star Tribune
The Wild are 1 - 1 in playoffs series against the Colorado Avalanche with a game record of 6-7. Of course all of that is meaningless because even the recent past cannot possibly be an considered an accurate predictor of what you'll see in the playoffs.

NHL - 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs preview: Colorado Avalanche versus Minnesota Wild - ESPN
Coming from one of the "finest" sources of hockey news, the four-letter network breaks down the upcoming series against the Avalanche, and who do they pick to win in 7 games? Clicky-clicky for the answer.

Why the Minnesota Wild Will Go Deep in the Playoffs for the 1st Time Since 2003 | Bleacher Report
Bleacher Report saying what a few of us at HW have been saying for weeks now, Ilya Bryzgalov > Ryan Miller this season. Not much focus on the series being with the Avalanche besides the 2003 run the Wild had, but they do make a case for the Wild to break with expectations. Plus, it's not a stupid slide show, so enjoy reading a rare, actual article from BR.

Tending the Fields

Iowa Wild continue stumble to finish line of the season | Des Moines Register
Iowa Wild are hard-pressed to find a win in the stretch run of their AHL season.

Solar Bears clinch 4th seed in ECHL Eastern Conference - Orlando Sentinel
The Orlando Solar Bears secured the fourth seed in the playoffs from the ECHL's Eastern Conference with a 5-4 victory against the Greenville Road Warriors in a regular-season finale at Amway Center.

Off the Trail

Canucks' Daniel Sedin stretchered off ice, taken to hospital after hit from behind (Video) | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports
Another scary moment, the second one in two days with Hackett being carted off for Buffalo yesterday and not Daniel Sedin after taking a dangerous hit from behind. A tough year for the Canucks, and losing Daniel in this way in the final game of the year is not the way you want things to end.

Avs win Central Division crown as Blues fall to Detroit - The Denver Post
A little perspective from the enemy about the upcoming series with an article not penned by Adrian Dater.

Jaromir Jagr of New Jersey Devils passes Gordie Howe on NHL's all-time assists list - - News
Jagr will seemingly never retire until he holds every NHL scoring record. Only 913 more assists for Jagr to catch Wayne Gretzky.

Bjugstad finishes season with two records | ProHockeyTalk
The former Gopher and Panthers rookie sets a team record for being the first rookie to lead the team in points, and he also steals a record away from the Wild in doing that.

This was a record-breaking season for Buffalo (and not in a good way) | ProHockeyTalk
Sabres fans ... might want to ignore this one.

Here’s the schedule for the first round of the 2014 playoffs | ProHockeyTalk
Plan your family life around this schedule, maybe buy the wife something nice for your disappearance during the playoffs.

Teemu Selanne, Jean-Sebastien Giguere share moving last lap in final regular-season game (Video) | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports
A fitting tribute to an amazing man who has had an amazing career. Stick tap to you Selanne, now please be kind if we meet in the playoffs!

Marty Brodeur honored by fans; says facing Devils as foe ‘would kill me’ | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports
Another tribute for another living legend who has likely seen his time in New Jersey come to an end with career win 668, all with the Devils. Stick tap as well to you Marty.

Panic time for the St. Louis Blues? | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports

NHL Recap - Boston Bruins at New Jersey Devils - Apr 13, 2014 -
Martin Brodeur made 16 saves in what might have been his last start in a 20-year career with the Devils and New Jersey beat Boston 3-2 on Sunday as the Bruins rested many of their stars in preparation for the playoffs later this week.

NHL Recap - Tampa Bay Lightning at Washington Capitals - Apr 13, 2014 -
The Tampa Bay Lightning wrapped up home-ice advantage for their first-round playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens by edging the Washington Capitals 1-0 in a shootout Sunday in the regular-season finale.

NHL Recap - Detroit Red Wings at St. Louis Blues - Apr 13, 2014 -
Backup goalie Petr Mrazek kept the injury-riddled St. Louis Blues down heading into the playoffs with his second career shutout in a 3-0 victory for the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday.

NHL Recap - Carolina Hurricanes at Philadelphia Flyers - Apr 13, 2014 -
Jordan Staal scored twice in regulation and had the only goal in the shootout to lead the Carolina Hurricanes to a 6-5 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers in the regular-season finale Sunday.

NHL Recap - Colorado Avalanche at Anaheim Ducks - Apr 13, 2014 -
Nick Bonino scored 1:33 into overtime, and the Anaheim Ducks finished the regular season with a 3-2 victory against the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night.

NHL Recap - Calgary Flames at Vancouver Canucks - Apr 13, 2014 -
Daniel Sedin scored twice before leaving on a stretcher after taking a hit from behind as the Vancouver Canucks beat the Calgary Flames 5-1 on Sunday night in the season finale.