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Wilderness Walk: Busted Tank

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Spurgeon was injured in the loss to the Avalanche, the Predators score two shorties in the same penalty kill, and a look at Gallant’s claim on the Jack Adams Trophy

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Minnesota Wild Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Last night’s game reminded me of the first round playoff series against the St. Louis Blues. The Minnesota Wild came out looking like they wanted to play hard and win, getting lots of chances but struggling to beat the opposing goaltender. Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlarmov, much like Jake Allen last year, seemed to just have it all figured out. Adding to the Wild’s suffering are the injuries to Jared “Tank” Spurgeon and Jason Zucker. While Zucker was able to make it back onto the ice, the Wild are going to be without their right-handed Tank for at least a couple of weeks (still waiting on more details). The Wild are still in a good position for the playoffs, but in a heated race in a strong division, these hurdles are making a tough race even tougher.

Wild News

Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon out after suffering 'gross' lower-body injury
As replays of Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon crumbling into the boards were shown on the jumbotron on Tuesday night at the Xcel Energy Center, the collective gasp of the announced crowd of 19,171 said pretty much everything that needed to be said. Spurgeon appeared to lose an edge early in the third period while attempting to play a pass from goaltender Devan Dubnyk. He did the splits going into the boards and stayed down on the ice for a few minutes before retreating to the locker room unable to put any weight on the lower half of his body.

Wild loses to Colorado again; Jared Spurgeon injured - StarTribune.com
The Wild dominated the Avalanche early amid 12 first-period shots Tuesday. But a lack of execution headlined the collection of close calls in a 5-1 loss.

Wild tough guy Nick Seeler set to return from injury suffered in brawl
Wild defenseman Nick Seeler knew something was wrong pretty much as soon as the fight with Detroit Red Wings tough guy Luke Witkowski concluded about a week and a half ago. After missing the last three games because of the injury, Seeler is set to return to the lineup against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night at the Xcel Energy Center.

Wild fail to bury Grade A chances in 5-1 loss to rival Avalanche
Bruce Boudreau didn't feel the need to channel his inner Herb Brooks prior to Tuesday's contest against the rival Colorado Avalanche. As far as the 63-year-old coach was concerned, the Wild getting pummeled in the previous two matchups between the two teams should've been more than enough to get his team motivated. And while the Wild got up for the matchup, and actually outplayed the Avalanche for most of it, the end result was a disheartening 5-1 defeat amid a hate-filled game that featured way more curse words than actual goals.

Wild has room for improvement with back-to-backs down the stretch - StarTribune.com
Before the Wild gets a four-day break next week, it'll rattle off three games in four days with another back-to-back in that stretch — a pattern in the schedule that's yielded mixed results for the Wild this season.

Tending the Field

Prospect Need to Know: Minnesota glory, NCAA madness | The Hockey News
The state tournament is done, while the Frozen Four is still looking for dancers. Learn about the kids making noise around the prospect world

Off the Trail

Down Goes Brown: Imagining the ideal 2017–18 NHL playoffs - Sportsnet.ca
Who says you have to wait for April? We dug through the realistic scenarios to figure out the best possible way that the entire 2017–18 Stanley Cup playoffs could play out.

Predators score two short-handed on same penalty against Jets - Sportsnet.ca
Austin Watson got things started with his fourth short-handed goal of the season, then Viktor Arvidsson followed up just 34 seconds later with a goal of his own to put the Predators ahead 3-0 on the Jets.

Can any coach challenge Golden Knights’ Gallant for the Jack Adams? | The Hockey News
Vegas Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant has been the odds-on favorite for the Jack Adams Award for most of the season, but can Colorado Avalanche bench boss Jared Bednar make a late push for the trophy?