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Wilderness Walk: And so it begins...

The Wild begin their postseason journey tonight at the American Airlines Center in Dallas - a building in which they must win to advance to the next round.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The road to the top continues to get steeper as we learned yesterday that the Wild will be without Thomas Vanek (which we knew), Zach Parise (which we guessed), and Erik Haula (which we guessed the opposite) to start the series.  It seems to be a pretty crushing blow, which pushes the Wild to its absolute limits when it comes to depth.  On a team that figured to roll 3 dangerous scoring lines against a top-heavy lineup in Dallas, where the Wild could find an advantage in the mismatch among the bottom-6, that advantage seems to have been neutralized with the Wild's depth players finding themselves in the starting lineup.  The bottom-6 matchup can still be won by Minnesota, but each and every player is going to have to be at the top of their game, especially on the defensive side of the puck.  The system Dallas employs will provide plenty of scoring opportunities, but the Wild must be patient and find the right moment to attack.

They must also steer clear of the penalty box.  The biggest mismatch amongst the team in the regular season came on special teams, with Dallas having the edge on both the power play and penalty kill.  They also dominated OT, but that won't be a factor here.  Put simply the Wild have to show more heart, more passion, more engagement and play like every game is a game 7 in order to take this series.  Dallas also has a crushing advantage over the Wild playing on home ice, but this is their first playoff meeting, so those rules may not apply.

This does have all the makings of a trap series for Dallas - on paper they have every reason to win.  But the Wild can really prove something big if they are able overcome all of their adversity.  Here's a graph depicting the chances of each team winning the series in each amount of games.

Never before has this team so desperately needed to display the eye of the tiger.  We Walk.

Wild News

Wild: Injured Zach Parise out for Games 1 and 2
Wild forward Zach Parise has been declared out for Games 1 and 2 in Dallas and is out "indefinitely" because of an upper body injury

Parise, Vanek won't travel with Wild to Dallas -
Zach Parise and Thomas Vanek will not travel with the Wild to Dallas for the first two games of the Wild-Stars opening round playoff series.

The Minnesota Wild Wrestle with Issues Before Playoff Opener
The Minnesota Wild have issues to solve as they've lost straight to end the season. As their round one opener looms, what must they do to right the ship?

For Wild's John Torchetti, the future is now
A three-time interim head coach, the Wild's John Torchetti has learned to stop worrying and love the ride

Coyle, Zucker will be key for Wild in Parise's absence -
With Zach Parise expected to be sidelined indefinitely, the pressure will be on other Wild players to pick up the slack offensively.

Potential NHL Playoff X-Factors - Dallas vs Minnesota - TSS
Every postseason, there are depth players who step up in key situations for their teams. The star players on teams will often match the opposition's star...

Behind Enemy Lines

Do-it-all Benn has Stars shining bright -
Lindy Ruff "had no idea" how good Jamie Benn could become.

Dallas Stars Practice Update: Tyler Seguin Continues to Progress, Looks "Markedly Better" - Defending Big D
The Stars continue to get healthier leading into Game 1 of their first-round series, including good progress from Tyler Seguin.

Dallas Stars: Cowlishaw: It's time for Stars forward Tyler Seguin to rebuild his underwhelming playoff reputation | SportsDay
The Stars return to the playoffs Thursday night. How long they stick around – a series, two, four perhaps – will be determined by many things...

Tending The Fields

Iowa Wild Hockey: Birthday Boy takes Cake
Leland Irving earns the shutout on his 28th birthdayThe Wild begin their postseason journey tonight at the American Airlines Center in Dallas - a building in which they must win to advance to the next round.

Off The Trail

The Stat-ley Cup: Finding trends in past Cup winners -
The 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs are upon us! The playoffs are always a war but this year's battle for the Cup could arguably be one of the most even brackets in at least half a decade. Who's going to win? Here's was the numbers say...

30 Thoughts: Picking NHL award winners -
Elliotte Friedman provides insight into how he decides on NHL awards voting and more in this week's 30 Thoughts.

A bandwagon fan's guide to the 16 Stanley Cup Playoff teams -
So your team didn't make it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs and you want to root for someone? Look to further. Here is your complete guide to picking a bandwagon team.

Maple Leafs sign Rielly, Kadri to six-year deals -
The Toronto Maple Leafs signed Morgan Rielly and Nazem Kadri to new six-year contacts on Wednesday.