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The Sisyphussian Wild

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The Wild have dug themselves out of their hole... but they are not home yet.

The Wild have battled back. They are in the playoff hunt, and in good position. They've pushed the rock up the hill... but not over it. March is going to be rough. How rough? 4 back-to-backs rough. Two of those are in the same week; Mon/Tues, Fri/Sat.

In short, the Wild still have a ways to go, because much like their lead against the Islanders all those months ago, their playoff hopes could soon turn to dust. Despite all their talk of not being overconfident, the first period against the Oilers on Tuesday showed that they could still well turn into their old selves. Indeed, they have much more imposing foes ahead than the lowly Oilers.

This is truly the turning point of the Wild's season- they have the reigns of their season in hand, and they will decide their fate. Should they continue their hot streak, and win a healthy number of points in March, they'll be in the postseason. If they revert to their December form... not so bright looking.

So, the Wild have a choice: control your destiny, and take control of your season... or leave it to chance. Will they continue pushing the boulder up the hill, or will the boulder run them over? It's up to fate to decide.

There are a few keys the Wild will need to follow if they're going to succeed this season.

1) Don't Quit Skating

Early in the season, the Wild's PP was plagued by predictable non-motion. They have since recovered, but as the game against the Oilers showed: a PPG could be all the difference. The puck movement and body movement needs to continue. Maybe more importantly than anything, though:

2) Shoot the Puck

The Wild have produced a healthy amount of offense. Yet they still have the tendency to pass up scoring chances- literally. For some reason- and it could be Yeo, it could just be the locker room mentality- players look to pass first. The message coming from the coaches needs to be: if you have a shot, take the shot. By all means, don't take a BAD shot, but if you have a shot, take it. A dirty goal off a rebound counts the same as a tic-tac-toe goal. There are no points for style.

3) Attack,

The Wild have, historically, sat on leads. And they've continued to do that this season. It won't work; this isn't soccer on a massive pitch where you can sit back and counter-attack effectively. When you get a lead, keep attacking- move the puck, move your feet, and drive possession. Minnesota has never been a team with a "boot on the throat" mentality, but if this team is ever going to reach their potential, they'll need to develop it, and soon.

Is the season over after a loss to the oh-so-bad Oilers? No, it's not. But the Wild cannot afford to give away points like that, especially at home. Not if they are going to finish what they started after the All Star Break.