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Wilderness Walk: Clincher Edition

The Wild have captured 8th place in the Western Conference and the 2nd wild card spot in this year's Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Well, the Wild have reached the post season for the fourth consecutive year... yay?   It doesn't feel like cause for much celebration based on the manner in which we got here.  When a team loses 4 games in a row, it just doesn't feel quite right to have that be the clinching moment.  It is what it is, as they say, and now we look forward to facing the Dallas Stars or Saint Louis Blues in the opening round.

A couple days of rest before a final matchup with Calgary is all that remains of the regular season for this Wild club, who now have as few as 5 games and as many as 29 games between them and the golf course or potential glory.  There's not much left to say after what we had to watch last night, so we move forward.  Stick with us as we ramp up our coverage for the end of the season and ahead of the playoffs.

I had originally queued up Katrina and the Waves "Walking on Sunshine," but it just didn't seem to fit the moment, so here's Sugar Ray while you Walk:

Wild News

Torchetti shakes up line: Dalpe to debut; Folin to play; Dumba, others scratched - StarTribune.com
The Wild again looks to clinch a playoff spot tonight when it plays the best road team in the NHL.

Are we heading toward a Stars-Wild playoff series? - StarTribune.com
If that happens, it would mark the first playoff meeting against the franchise that left Minnesota more than two decades ago — a move that ripped a hole in the hearts of many local hockey fans.

Five Questions with John Torchetti - NHL.com

Some insight into the fiery Bostonian

Women's World Championship

U.S. Women’s Hockey Wins World Championship, Beats Canada " CBS New York
Alex Carpenter put another gold medal around the Americans' necks.

Carpenter's OT winner gives USA gold in Women's World Championship | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports
From Yahoo Sports: Carpenter's OT winner gives USA gold in Women's World Championship

Tending the Fields

Iowa Wild Hockey: Dalpe and Folin to Minnesota
Thor returns to Minny with another Zach by his side

On The Frozen Pond

College Hockey: Hobey Baker "Hat Trick" finalists announced | NCAA.com
The Hobey Baker Memorial Award is pleased to announce the three Hobey Hat Trick finalists for the 2016 Hobey Baker Memorial Award

Off The Trail

30 things we learned in the 2015-16 NHL regular season
We've boiled down the regular season into bite-sized capsules.

NHL Award Watch: Kris Letang plays his way into Norris debate - CBSSports.com
We take one more look at the Award Races for the 2015-16 NHL season, where Kris Letang has entered the Norris Trophy discussion and Joe Thornton has a strong case for league MVP.

Panthers' Mitchell says NHL has to do better protecting players; he's right - CBSSports.com
#OldFriend

Todd McLellan, Oilers still establishing boundaries - Sportsnet.ca
The Oilers are deep into this rebuild, and they’re still working on the boundaries. Nibbling at the edges of what defines a successful team, after all these wasted seasons in Edmonton.

Nazem Kadri's divisive season has him under microscope - Sportsnet.ca
Here's the thing about Kadri: He plays on the edge and usually inspires a dichotomy of opinion.

How will the loss of Steven Stamkos impact Lightning? - Sportsnet.ca
With Steven Stamkos out of the Tampa Bay Lightning for 1-to-3 months, what kind of impact will his loss have on the rest of the team?