While all of the events of 2 nights ago (Wild loss, CAL+LAK+WIN comeback wins) seem particularly heavy due to their impact on the standings, it seems hard to remember that it was only one game. The team was going to lose at some point. Yes, the Wild slipped to 10th in the standings behind the Kings by a point, but there are more important things at work here. Following the All-Star break, the guys in Iron Range Red came out and played angry. They were a team on the ropes playing like they had everything to lose. They were leaving it all on the ice, and playing their brand of possession based hockey with smothering defense, and a netminder standing on his head.
Since the second night of their back-to-back games vs the Jets last Monday, it's been clear that the grueling schedule and high-emotion hockey were taking their toll. The team regressed noticeably. Neutral zone exits were lazy, passes weren't crisp and were turned over, they were being outshot. The great Dubnyk outperformed the team and earned some points. Now the Wild has to return to the crisp form we saw out of the break. There were glimpses of the flat out dominance we haven't seen since games 1 & 2 against the Avalanche.
26 games remain on the schedule. So much can happen when teams are as close together in the standings as they currently are in the Western Conference. The most important thing for the Wild to do is to come out and prove their identity by playing their game. If they can get their game back to the level it was at 2 weeks ago, they should make the playoffs, and they're not that far off.
Brand new Hockey Wilderness Podcast for your pleasure:
Check out the other side at Matchsticks and Gasoline. We Walk.
Heading into Calgary game, look for the Wild to break up top line, maybe recall a forward | Russo's Rants | StarTribune.com
No crying over spilled milk. Need to have a short...wait, what was I talking about?
NHL 94 Recap: Canucks defeat Wild 3-2 | CanucksArmy
Montador's death hits Wild hard | Star Tribune
Teammates with Bruno and Pommer.
Wild's rare regulation loss reveals how far they had fallen - TwinCities.com
Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work we go.
Tending The Fields
HockeyBuzz.com - Tony Dean - WildHBcommunity: A Look at Four Forwards in Wild's Prospect Pipeline
The Dean takes a look at forward depth in the organization
On Frozen Pond
GIRLS - MSHSL 2014-2015 State Tournament
MN Girls HS Hockey Tournament starts today at the X.
Gophers Hockey: On golden uniforms and gold-medal defense - SB Nation College Hockey
Another MN team fighting for it's playoff future.
Off The Trail
18 Players and Where They'll Land at the NHL Trade Deadline
The floodgates are open, what moves are lurking?
Trade Deadline Depth: Trading for Forward Depth
THW looks at the impact of Forward depth
Depth Scoring from Forwards for Each NHL Team - PensBurgh
A really cool graphic for scoring equity on all teams.