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Wilderness Walk: Happy Friyay!

The Wild won last night and play again tonight, state hockey tournament, Rask close to returning, and much more in today’s Wilderness Walk!

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NHL: Minnesota Wild at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friyay Wilderness!

The Wild went on the road and defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning last night by a final score of 3-0, with Jason Zucker scoring all three goals on the way to hitting the 20-goal plateau for the third straight season. Don’t bask in the sunshine too much, as the Wild turn right back around tonight and play the other team that calls Florida home. The Florida Panthers are coming off their sixth straight loss last night as the Boston Bruins handed them another L in Boston. So, the Wild had less travel and should be more “fresh” than the Panthers tonight, right?! Puck drop is at 6 p.m. CT.

Friyay Fun Fact: Wayne “The Great One” Gretzky holds 11 of the top 13 spots for most assists in a single season by an NHL player. Only Mario Lemieux and Bobby Orr tallied more assists than Gretzky’s 103 that ranks 13th on the single-season list.

Taking us through the Walk today is Rocky Mountain High, by John Denver.

Wild News

Just your typical Jason Zucker hat trick and Wild shutout of the NHL’s best team – The Athletic
The nearly-traded Zucker scored all three goals in a thorough victory over the Lightning for a team that keeps bringing it against the best.

Wild shuts out NHL-leading Tampa Bay 3-0 behind Jason Zucker's hat trick - StarTribune.com
Jason Zucker scored all three goals while Devan Dubnyk posted his second shutout.

Postgame Hat Trick: Wild 3, Lightning 0
Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 3-0 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Thursday night:

Hartman: Wild's trades spark recent surge - StarTribune.com
GM Paul Fenton's trades are trying to make the team younger and faster, and create more cap space.

Injured Rask practices with Wild in Tampa - StarTribune.com
Victor Rask participated in his first skate with the Wild on Thursday morning since he was hurt Feb. 12 against the Philadelphia Flyers when he stepped on a puck

On Frozen Pond

Class AA state boys hockey quarterfinal: Edina 4, Moorhead 2 – Twin Cities
Class AA state boys hockey quarterfinal: Edina 4, Moorhead 2

Minnesota high school boys hockey state tournament triple overtime Eden Prairie beats Lakeville South
Eden Prairie beat Lakeville South 3-2 in triple overtime of Thursday's quarterfinal of the Class 2A Minnesota high school boys hockey state tournament on a goal from Jack Jensen.

Class 2A boys hockey quarterfinal: Blaine 4, White Bear Lake 2
Blaine beat White Bear Lake 4-2 in Thursday's quarterfinal of the Class 2A Minnesota high school boys hockey state tournament at Xcel Energy Center.

Class 2A boys state hockey quarterfinal: St. Thomas Academy 3, Duluth East 1 – Twin Cities
St. Thomas (25-3-1) advanced to face top seed Edina (25-2-1) in the 8 p.m. semifinal Friday at the X. It’s the Cadets’ first semifinal since they beat East Grand Forks, 11-0, on the way to the last of their state-record fifth Class A title.

Third kidney transplant can’t keep Taconite teen from watching his brother at state hockey tournament – Twin Cities
Dominik Lawson never has been one to shy from a challenge.

Minnesota high school hockey: reflecting on memorable moments | KSTP.com
In 75 years of hockey, there have been a lot of special moments and fantastic finishes. However, there has been great individual performances and teams that set the standards for today's players...

Gallery: Hockey hair from day 1 of the Minnesota high school state tournament - Bring Me The News
Barbers and hair stylists must be going out of business in these towns.

Minnesota State High School League criticized after Michael Russo, The Athletic barred from hockey tourney - Bring Me The News
Big name local media personalities are criticizing the MSHSL.

AHL Central News: A New Leader of the Pack
The AHL Central Division has a new team on top and they are no strangers to first place. Can the Chicago Wolves hang on for their third straight titie? How are the Iowa Wild doing within their division?

NWHL Playoff Preview: It's a three-horse race for the Isobel Cup - TheHockeyNews
The NWHL post-season begins Thursday with a play-in game, and the stage will be set for the Isobel Cup final before the weekend is through. Which two teams will win their way to the winner-take-all affair and who comes out on top?

Off the Trail

Insider Trading: Could Hunter leave Hockey Canada role for NHL opportunity? - TSN.ca
TSN Hockey Insiders Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger discuss Mark Hunter taking the helm of Canada's World Junior program and his potential out for an NHL opportunity, potential head coaching candidates for the numerous vacancies around the league, the NHL's player safety summit, and some college free agents to keep an eye on.

GMs’ offseason priorities: Blackhawks looking to spend, Sabres looking to deal, Rangers a wild card and more – The Athletic
With the deadline over, GMs are shifting their focus to offseason priorities. Craig Custance chatted with many of them about those plans.

Analyzing the importance of playing ‘heavy hockey’ in the playoffs – The Athletic
While there is an increase in physical contact in the playoffs, do championship teams have a roster that can play 'heavy hockey?'

‘When he speaks, you listen’: The sights and sounds of Barry Trotz’s road to 800 wins and an NHL coaching legacy – The Athletic
As Trotz captured win No. 800 this week, The Athletic spoke with those who were a part of his path to the exclusive NHL coaches club.

Backes clarifies enforcer comments: 'I’m not looking for the NHL heavyweight championship belt' - TheHockeyNews
Despite reports he was willing to take on the role of enforcer, David Backes wants to make it clear that he's not looking for fights. The veteran simply wants to be more useful to his team, not put himself in danger.

Ten European free agents who could land NHL deals - TheHockeyNews
It's still early, but teams have already been on the lookout for players over in Europe that could make an impact in the NHL in the near future.

Since arriving in St. Louis, O'Reilly has been everything the Blues could have asked for and more - TheHockeyNews
St. Louis spent big to acquire Ryan O'Reilly from the Buffalo Sabres, but it's starting to look like he was landed for a song. The top-line center has excelled in every facet of the game and he's leading the charge for the Blues.

Flyers, Blackhawks to open 2019-20 season in Prague - Sportsnet.ca
The Philadelphia Flyers and Chicago Blackhawks will begin their 2019-20 campaigns overseas.

Why the Carolina Hurricanes are finally looking like a playoff team - Sportsnet.ca
The Carolina Hurricanes have been an analytics darling for a few years now, but it's never paid off with a playoff appearance. So now as they charge up the standings, what has changed with this team that has led to sudden success? Andrew Berkshire takes a look.

Yzerman still 'very involved' with Lightning - TSN.ca
Steve Yzerman may have stepped down as general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning prior to the season, but it appears the Hockey Hall of Famer is still heavily involved in the team's decision making.

Binnington gaining steam in improbable Calder Trophy quest - TSN.ca
All Jordan Binnington has done in the NHL is win, bringing the Blues from 31st place on Jan. 8 to nipping at the heels of the Nashville Predators for second place in the Central Division thanks to his 16-3-1 run in net. Now, can the rookie netminder win one of the NHL’s most prestigious awards?

On The Road With the Sedin brothers - Sportsnet.ca
NHL analyst Colby Armstrong takes a ride with the Sedin brothers to talk hockey, family and how Daniel was fired by his daughter as a hockey coach.

NHL Power Rankings: 31 Big Questions Down the Stretch Edition - Sportsnet.ca
With the playoff and lottery races in full effect and clubs jockeying for position, we look at 31 major questions down the stretch in our NHL Power Rankings.

Super 16: Capitals, Hurricanes make big jumps; Lightning stay at No. 1
Two Metropolitan Division teams made the biggest move up the Super 16 this week.The Washington Capitals moved up three spots to No. 6 and the Carolina Hurricanes jumped four spots to No. 11, giving the Metropolitan Division four teams in the top 11, including the New York Islanders at No. 9 and the Pittsburgh Penguins at No. 10.

2019 NHL Draft: Forbes' Top 155 for March
Roughly 3 months away from the NHL Entry Draft now and outside the unanimous top two picks, the draft seems like it could be wide open.

NHL Rumors: Mats Zuccarello, Niklas Kronwall, Dylan Strome, More
In today's NHL rumors, we discuss Niklas Kronwall, Mats Zuccarello, Dylan Strome and Jonathan Dahlen. What is the latest buzz on these players?

2019 NHL Draft: 10 Fallers from Fisher’s Top 300 for March
This month's fallers are a collection of prospects who still possess nice potential but are trending down for various reasons ahead of the 2019 NHL draft.

2019 NHL Draft: 10 Risers from Fisher’s Top 300 for March
This month's risers are a really skilled group of primarily forwards. I've always prioritized skill and that is evident in the March edition of my rankings.