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Wilderness Walk: Game Day Edition

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Today the Wild see their rematch with Washington, with Alex Ovechkin is in the lineup this time. Both teams hold the first wildcard spot in their Conference. The Capitals have one more point than the Wild, but are only 5-5 in their last ten, including a home loss to the Wild two weeks ago today. The Wild look to reestablish their home dominance against a competitive opponent.

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Every day is a great day when there's meaningful hockey to be played.  Our fan base has been fortunate to witness the great turnaround and season revival, and every game holds meaning.  As the Wild rested in preparation for their short home stand, last night saw the Blackhakws beat the Rangers and the Ducks beat the Kings in OT.  Chicago now holds a 7 point lead over the Wild and Los Angeles moved within 3 of the Wild and 2 behind Vancouver for second place in the Pacific.  The Wild hold a 4 point hold on 9th place Calgary, and face off against the Blues on Saturday followed by two back-to-backs next week.

The Wild sit 7 points out of 3rd place in the Central, but only 4 points above the playoff line.  Every game continues to count, and as tough as the Capitals are, they are a lesser opponent than the Wild's recent opponents Nashville, Saint Louis, and Anaheim.  The Wild must guard against any form of letdown and take control in their own building.  Fortunately because the team is playing well, Marco Scandella and Ryan Carter are not being rushed back.  They will have every opportunity to come back at full strength and contribute.

The Wild will roll the same lineup as in Nashville, and will have the benefit of home ice.  Alex Ovechkin is dangerous, but the Wild has been backing up their solid defense with balanced offense of their own.  They do have to work harder to stay out of the box as they have been in more penalty trouble of late, though they have the best penalty kill in the league, their possession #fancystats do not tolerate short-handed time well.

We start today's Walk with an elite vocal performance from lyrical genius Mike Doughty:

Wild News

Jeff Dubay Show | Spreaker
Our very own Tony joins Tony Dean on the Jeff Dubay show to talk Wild.  Episode #79, give it a listen

Minnesota Wild's Matt Dumba adds OT game-winner to his growing resume - TwinCities.com
In a short time, the Minnesota Wild's Matt Dumba has blossomed into one of the team's best defensemen and one of the top rookies in the NHL.Tuesday, he ad

Wild can't draw a power play, but its penalty kill rock solid in eighth straight road win | Russo's Rants | StarTribune.com
As Mike Yeo joked after tonight’s come-from-behind 3-2 overtime win over Nashville, "I’m glad we spent most of the practice yesterday working on our power...

HockeyBuzz.com - Tony Dean - WildHBcommunity: The Minnesota Wild Only Getting Stronger in Strange Season
Dean Tony gives us a great state of the team address.  Our very own Tony joined forces with Mr. Dean on the Jeff Dubay show today.

Wild notes: Players warm to 3-on-3 overtime | Star Tribune
All of the players love this except maybe the goaltenders.  New rule would provide best of all worlds with a better chance to end the game in team competition but a shootout still possible.  Everybody wins.

Former Minnesota Wild: Where are They Now?
Our own Allie takes us on a walk down memory lane for at THW.

Tending the Fields

Wild Prospect Report: Mar. 18 - Minnesota Wild | Features
Team press release

On Frozen Pond

Mike Richter Award Finalists Named - SB Nation College Hockey
#NoneOfUS :(

Off the Trail

Nazem Kadri suspended four games for hit on Matt Fraser - CBSSports.com
Recently scratched and now missing 4 more.  Trade breezes continue to gather.

NHL Awards: Carey Price building lead in Hart, Vezina races - CBSSports.com
Carey Price appears to be the front-runner for both the Hart and Vezina Trophies, but will someone be able to knock him off with a last-quarter push?

Rangers' Alain Vigneault among five coaches worthy of Jack Adams - CBSSports.com
No #Yeolo?

Evidence suggests NHL, NBA warmups may not be a good thing - Yahoo Sports
Sound sleep drives performance.  It's even better than Red Bull.

Canucks celebrate Pat Quinn’s legacy on St. Patrick’s Day (Video) | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports
From Yahoo Sports: Pat Quinn was the Big Irishman, in every sense of the nickname: In stature, in comportment, in heart and, as the Vancouver Canucks reminded us on Tuesday night, in legacy.

NHL bringing Stanley Cup Playoff games to USA Network | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports
USA will be overflow for NBC channels

WATCH: Blackhawks' Andrew Shaw ejected for head butting Brock Nelson - CBSSports.com
Shaw was not suspended for this

WATCH: Kings' Dustin Brown absolutely levels Ducks' Corey Perry - CBSSports.com
Play.  Play.  Play.  Repeat.

Recaps

NHL Recap - Chicago Blackhawks at New York Rangers - Mar 18, 2015 - CBSSports.com

NHL Recap - Columbus Blue Jackets at Edmonton Oilers - Mar 18, 2015 - CBSSports.com