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Wilderness Walk: Overtime Woes

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The Wild lost but had a couple silver linings, the U of M men’s hockey program has a new head coach, and the contest for the Hart Trophy is the most competitive its ever been.

Minnesota Wild v Nashville Predators Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

The Minnesota Wild lost last night in Nashville to the Predators, a likely second round opponent should the boys in Forest Green make it that far. Now, there were a couple silver linings to mitigate the loss. The Wild did manage to force overtime, so they get the benefit of a loser point to help stay ahead of the Colorado Avalanche and the St. Louis Blues. Eric Staal scored his 40th goal of the season, bringing him to rarified air in the franchise’s history books. Devan Dubnyk kept his team in the game despite the shelling he faced, exactly the form you want to see from your netminder before the playoffs.

Still, I hate to feel nervous about the Wild facing any team on their home ice, but that is the feeling that is starting to surface when the Wild go to Nashville. They simply can’t seem to get things going in Music City. Maybe it’s just the thought of all the catfish that go to waste there. Whatever the reason, if the Wild make it to the second round of the playoffs, there’s a good chance it’ll involve going to Nashville, and they’ll need to figure out a solution real quick. Unless they make a strategic move fall to the first wild card slot and end up in the Pacific Division side of the bracket.

Wild News

Staal helps Wild score 'big' point in shootout loss to the Predators - StarTribune.com
The Wild wasn't as crisp, cohesive or clutch as it was when it dismantled the Predators 4-1 Saturday, but it was competitive — rallying to add another point to its stash in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Western Conference-leading Predators.

Staal joins exclusive group by reaching 40-goal mark - StarTribune.com
Wild center Eric Staal scored his 40th goal in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Predators Tuesday, joining a very elite group of NHL goal-scorers in the process and setting some team history, too.

Wild hang around before falling 2-1 to Predators in shootout
Although the Wild lacked the execution for most of the night, Eric Staal tied the score with 3:15 remaining to force overtime before the Predators prevailed 2-1 in a shootout.

Tending the Field

2018 NHL Draft: 10 Underrated Prospects to Watch
Yes, Rasmus Dahlin will be selected first overall in the 2018 NHL Draft. However, what about the hundreds of other notable young players available? In this article, Brett Slawson identifies 10 vastly underrated NHL prospects and discusses why NHL franchises should not overlook these hidden talents.

On Frozen Pond

Minnesota Hockey hires Bob Motzko from St. Cloud State - The Daily Gopher
Motzko will be the 15th Gopher Hockey head Coach in program history

Minnesota hockey hires former assistant Bob Motzko as 15th head coach in program's history | NCAA.com
Motzko is a Minnesota native and was an assistant coach for the two most recent Gopher national championship teams.

Off the Trail

NHL Hart Trophy race: Nathan MacKinnon, Taylor Hall hold slim edge in MVP free-for-all | NHL | Sporting News

Devils' Boyle, Canucks' Dorsett and Hurricanes' Staal among Masterton nominees | The Hockey News
PHWA chapters announced nominees for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy on Tuesday. The award goes to the player who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.”

Second-best masked men: Ranking the NHL's 31 backup goalies | The Hockey News
Philipp Grubauer has been one of the best backups in the NHL this season, outperforming his more renowned crease mate in Washington.

Beacons of hope: Eichel, Mittelstadt signal a brighter future for long-suffering Sabres | The Hockey News
The Sabres will finish their season in the mix for the top draft choice once again, but Jack Eichel's desire to right the ship and the signing of top prospect Casey Mittelstadt are two reasons for hope in Buffalo.

The Players That Broke The Colour Barrier for Each NHL Team
A comprehensive list of the players of colour that broke through the colour barrier for every NHL team.