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Wild Weekly Preview: March 7th-13th Edition

Six out of eight points on the week is never a bad haul, but tough games against league cellar dwellers Toronto and Buffalo - and a manhandling by St. Louis - indicate a playoff spot is far from guaranteed.

Darcy Kuemper slammed the door 18 times in relief of Devan Dubnyk Sunday night.
Darcy Kuemper slammed the door 18 times in relief of Devan Dubnyk Sunday night.
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Wild currently sit in the second and final wild card spot in the West with a 31-26-10 record and 72 points, six behind the Nashville Predators and 13 behind the Central's third seed St. Louis Blues. In the rear-view mirror, the Colorado Avalanche are hot on the scent with 70 points, while the Vancouver Canucks and Arizona Coyotes try to keep their faint playoff hopes alive with 62 points each. It's a light week for Minnesota, which means sweeping the week is their top priority if Colorado is to remain in ninth place.

This Week's Schedule

Thursday, March 10th - Minnesota Wild vs Edmonton Oilers 7:00 PM CT (FS-N, FS-WI)

Saturday, March 12th - Minnesota Wild @ Montreal Canadiens 6:00 PM CT (FS-N, TVAS, SN)

Game of the Week

Two words: Connor McDavid. Moving on.

Key Player of the Week

Devan Dubnyk has struggled more than usual since the All-Star break. Part of it - and it's a huge part - is the Wild's anemic penalty kill. With the penalty kill out of the picture, Dubnyk has been relatively solid, but, lately, several of the goals he does give up have been major no-nos. Is he tired? Have Yeo and Torchetti played him too much? Maybe it is time to rest Dubnyk, especially with a very good young backup in the wings.

Darcy Kuemper has seen very little action this season - just 15 games started - but it's enough of a sample size to see he deserves a better look. The big youngster has a 6-4-5 record, a 2.24 goals against average, a .922 save percentage and two shutouts. Most recently, he stopped all 18 shots against in relief of Dubnyk in Minnesota's 4-2 loss to the Blues Sunday night. He looked sharp. Dubnyk did not. Considering the Wild's next game comes against the Oilers - who are sure to have an excellent scouting report on their former long-time goaltender - it might be time for Kuemper to get a shot.

Key Opponent of the Week

With 13 goals and 34 points in 31 games, McDavid is just 10 points behind Jack Eichel (44 points in 66 games played) for second in rookie scoring. On his own team, the 2015 first overall pick is fifth in team scoring, but unquestionably leads the team in points-per-game average with 1.10. His speed, vision and hands are difficult to replicate, especially in one complete package. McDavid is everything he was advertised to be and more, and we're sure to witness it in person Thursday night.