The Minnesota Wild officially clinch a post-season berth for the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. But the team went about clinching the wrong way. They needed a big goal from Craig Smith 4:17 into the third period to secure the victory.....for the Nashville Predators over the Avalanche to officially eliminate the Colorado Avalanche from playoff contention.
The Wild lost 3-0 to the Sharks on home ice to extend a losing streak to four games. Minnesota couldn't break though Sharks goaltender James Reimer, while Logan Couture's game winner at 4:43 of the first period stood tall, even though Patrick Marleau's two goals put the Wild in a deep hole.
The Wild out-shot the Sharks 29-20 for the game, though it trailed all game long, and outside of a first good shift in the first period, a post/crossbar by Nino Niederreiter in the second period, and an 0-fer power play that tallied just three shots all game long, the Wild just couldn't put forth a winning style of game.
As for backing into the playoffs, John Torchetti would have none of it. "How do you back into the playoffs going 15-10-1?" Which, I guess is true, but they can't actually feel good about how its game as the season wraps up Saturday against the Calgary Flames. The team was booed off the ice.
"Frustrating again. Not the result we want," Zach Parise said after the game in which his team was just shutout. "What's done is done. We'll move forward and prepare the right way for Saturday's game," Mikko Koivu stated as he tried to shift focus on to Calgary.
Playing "right way." I'm not even sure what that means anymore. Mike Yeo used to say that phrase almost ad nauseum. The players all talk the talk, but there's a certain saying from the Michael Bay film "The Rock" that comes to mind. Or if you want to go more PG, a saying from Yoda in "The Empire Strikes Back:" "Do or do not, there is no try." Basically, this team all season long has known what it should do, has talked a big game, has spoken about being frustrated and disappointed, but until the team just goes out an executes like it should - like it can with the talent level of this team - there is no reason for the team to clinch a playoff berth as the 2nd wild card spot on a three game losing skid.
All-in-all, the Wild return to the post-season, and the Colorado Avalanche again has to hit the course early. The Wild have at least four more games, including two home games at Xcel Energy Center.