The Media met with 2 out of 3 Minnesota Wild Captains Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu after they barely clinched a playoff spot. Both were complaining about the media's negativity and wondering why they focused on the 4 game losing streak instead of the 6 game winning streak. At the time, sure fans and media were pleased with the 6 game winning streak but that winning streak was snapped by a non-playoff team and sent the Wild spiraling downhill again; just not as far down this time around. The games that are fresh in everyone's minds, except the players and coaches, I suppose, are the 4 games of the most recent losing streak where the Wild had opportunities to clinch and played like they didn't want to make the playoffs instead.
The last two games against the Calgary Flames have gone as follows:
Feb. 17th: MIN 5, CGY 3
Mar. 24th: CGY 2, MIN 6
The Wild needs to go into this game like a playoff game- focused, crisp passes, smart plays and most importantly: score first. This game will not be an easy W just because it's against a non-playoff team; the Wild should have learned that by now, especially after losing to the Winnipeg Jets 5-1 last week.
Match up Preview:
The Wild are coming off of a gane in which it was shutout by the San Jose Sharks, booed off the ice and left to scoreboard watch to clinch the playoffs on Tuesday night. Parise, Koivu and interim coach John Torchetti were almost incredulous as to why the media was so negative the last week or so. Hopefully that'll light a fire under the players butts to play well, especially on the final game of the regular season against a non-playoff team. No excuses.
The Flames on the other hand will not make the playoffs so there's nothing really to prove or at stake for them, so to speak. That does not mean they won't come out strong looking to finish on a win and then go home and get to work for next season though.
Johnny Gaudreau has more goals than Wild leader Zach Parise; Gaudreau- 30, Parise- 25
Gaudreau has 2 points against the Wild this season- an assist and a goal.
Gaudreau- 6 points in past 5 games, Leads team in points(30-48=78)
Haula- Despite his 10 game point streak being snapped, 3 points in last 5 games.
Who's Not Hot?
Sam Bennett- 1 point in last 5 games
Nino Niederreiter- 2 points in last 5 games