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Wilderness Walk:Punching The Ticket Edition

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The Wild reversed their tendency to back into the playoffs and earn their playoff berth with authority by beating the team that has bounced the Wild for 2 consecutive seasons. Playing on the end of a back-to-back, a night after a demoralizing loss, the Wild brought their road game to life and earned a clean victory over the Hawks.

Captain America has another great game.
Captain America has another great game.
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

With the Wild limping their way toward the playoffs over the last three games, fans were starting to expect their team to back their way into the playoffs, as they have the last couple of years.  But, the Wild took it upon themselves to earn this year's entry of their own will by beating sworn enemy Chicago.  It proved to be a tasty win in so many ways.  The Wild played well, after struggling for three games.  Chicago also played well and the Wild were able to overcome.  It came against a team that has caused a lot of heartache in our great state.  It set the Wild up to face the Central Division winner in the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs as the winner of the first Wildcard spot (Winnipeg still 2 back after a second consecutive shutout for Ondrej Pavelec).

Jason Zucker made a statement in his return.  He was visible from his first shift, and scored the game-winning goal on a nice backhander.  He also had a scary moment crashing into the boards after tripping on the side of the cage on a rush, but got up and scored the goal a few minutes later.  Zucker has been tough all year long, absorbing big hits and bouncing back.  His presence was a spark on a team that had a few players showing off their dead legs (I'm looking at you, Thomas Vanek).

Now the team has some choices to make over the last 2 games.  They can rest guys, get some guys in who haven't played a lot (Folin, Cooke, Bergenheim, Kuemper) or they can continue to push their core lineup to stay sharp heading into the first round.  Now we go Wilderness Walking on Sunshine, as we are officially in the playoffs after climbing out of the Central Division cellar.  Simply Amazing.

Wild News

NHL on NBCSN: Wild can clinch with a win in Chicago | ProHockeyTalk
And clinch they did!

IT’S AN XCEL ENERGY POWER PLAY! - Minnesota Wild - Articles - Homepage - Wild Xtra
WildXtra examines the Wild's power play woes

3 on 3: Three Game Losing Streak - Minnesota Wild - Articles - Homepage - Wild Xtra
The Xtra also takes a look at the only losing streak of the last 3 months.

Wild never does anything the easy way | Russo's Rants | StarTribune.com
The writing was on the wall for a familiar script...

Wild's Zucker taking more contact in hopes of Thursday return | Star Tribune
Zucker beat the clock, and put a big ! on his return with the GWG

Zulgad: Yeo attempts to dial down the pressure as Wild limp to finish | 1500 ESPN Twin Cities - Minnesota Sports News & Opinion (Twins, Vikings, Wolves, Wild, Gophers) | Sportswire: Minnesota Wild

Scoreboard Watching

NHL Recap - Winnipeg Jets at St. Louis Blues - Apr 07, 2015 - CBSSports.com
ST. LOUIS (AP) Ondrej Pavelec stopped 30 shots for his second consecutive shutout and the Winnipeg Jets strengthened their bid for a Western Conference playoff spot with a 1-0 victory over the Central-leading St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night.

NHL Recap - Los Angeles Kings at Edmonton Oilers - Apr 07, 2015 - CBSSports.com
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) The Edmonton Oilers put a major roadblock to the playoff path of the Los Angeles Kings.

NHL Recap - Nashville Predators at Colorado Avalanche - Apr 07, 2015 - CBSSports.com

NHL Recap - Arizona Coyotes at Calgary Flames - Apr 07, 2015 - CBSSports.com

Tending the Fields

Minnesota Wild Prospects: Cristoph Bertschy Signs ELC, Joins Swiss National Team
Minnesota Wild prospect Cristoph Bertschy has signed an entry level contract with the team, according to SC Bern. He's also joining the national team.

Watch 18-year-old Finnish goalie score second goal in two weeks | The Hockey News

Elite Sniper Kaapo Kahkonen, who has as many goals as Ryan Suter on the season

On Frozen Pond

Seven Gophers Medal at IIHF Worlds - University of Minnesota Official Athletic Site
All seven Gophers brought home medals from the IIHF Women's World Championship last week.

Off the Trail

Pavelec’s shutout over Wild keeps pressure on Kings, Flames | ProHockeyTalk
After being thrown into a heated playoff series just one year ago, Ilya Bryzgalov appears to be focussed on important matters heading into the playoffs.

Pavelec’s shutout over Wild keeps pressure on Kings, Flames | ProHockeyTalk
Winnipeg has another tough contest tomorrow in St. Louis.

PHT Morning Skate: Former NHLer Warren Peters delivers a devastating hit in a Danish league game | ProHockeyTalk
Tuesday's collection of links.

Recaps

NHL Recap - New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils - Apr 07, 2015 - CBSSports.com
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) There wasn't much celebrating after the New York Rangers won the Presidents' Trophy for the best regular-season record for the third time in franchise history.

NHL Recap - Carolina Hurricanes at Detroit Red Wings - Apr 07, 2015 - CBSSports.com

NHL Recap - Pittsburgh Penguins at Ottawa Senators - Apr 07, 2015 - CBSSports.com

NHL Recap - New York Islanders at Philadelphia Flyers - Apr 07, 2015 - CBSSports.com