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One Weekend To Rule Them All

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So it’s come to this.

One weekend to give us a shot at deciding our season.  Two games, back-to-back, one here, one in Columbus.  In order to have a shot at the playoffs, we need to win out and hope for some luck.

Here are some stats to give you an idea of the uphill battle that we have in front of us:

  • Winning out would mean that we would have won three games in a row.  The last time the team did this?  November.  In fact, you have to go back to February to find the last time we won two in a row.
  • Our games are against Nashville and Columbus respectively.  The Wild are 1-2-0 against Nashville this season, while outscoring the Preds 6-5 and have been shut out in the teams’ last two meetings.  Against Columbus, the Wild are 2-1-0 with one shootout win and are knotted in goals at 7 a piece. 
  • Minnesota and Nashville are tied for 25th in the league with 205 goals for.  The Wild are 2nd in the league with 193 goals against, while the Predators are 10th with 222 goals against.  Columbus, meanwhile, is 21st in the league with 222 goals for and 9th in the league with 221 goals against.
  • The Wild’s powerplay remains in the top ten of the league, at 19.6% (good for 10th) and their penalty kill is 2nd at 87.7%.  Nashville and Columbus’s powerplays are 15.6% (26th) and 12.8% (30th) respectively, while their penalty kills are 83.6% (4th) and 82.3% (13th) respectively.
  • Rick Nash has scored 11 pts in his last 7 games for Columbus, while Steve Sullivan has 8 in his last 6 games for Nashville.  Our hottest players are Andrew Brunette, who has 8 points in his last 7 games and Marian Gaborik, who has 4 in his last 2 games.
  • Niklas Backstrom is 2-1-0, with a 1.34 GAA and a .960 Sv Pct in his last 3 GPI, while Pekka Rinne of Nashville is 1-1-0, with a 3.39 GA and a .860 Sv Pct in his last 2 GPI and Steve Mason of Columbus is 1-0-1, with a 1.87 GAA and a .923 Sv Pct in his last 2 GPI.
  • In their last 10 games, the Wild are 5-4-1, while the Blue Jackets are 5-1-4 and the Predators are 4-3-3.
  • The Wild are 7-9-0 in games with 0 days off (@Columbus) this season and 6-6-2 in games with 2 days off (v. Nashville).  Nashville, meanwhile, is 6-4-2 in games with 0 days off and Columbus is 7-8-4 in games with 0 days off.
  • In games on weekdays (Nashville), the Wild are 24-18-7, while the Preds are 21-25-8.  On games on weekends (Columbus), the Wild are 14-15-2 while the Blue Jackets are 11-13-5.

Basically, what all those stats add up to is that the Wild are playing two pretty good teams over the next two nights and have an uphill battle.  They do, however, have some hope.

The team has two scenarios in which they can sneak into the playoffs.  Both involve the team winning out, but the Wild can make the playoffs IF…

Anaheim loses in regulation, both at home to Dallas and at Phoenix.

OR…

St. Louis goes 0-1-1 in its final two games, one at home against Columbus and the other in Colorado.  Also, if the Blues lose out in regulation, the Wild would be in the playoffs as well.

The Wild can become the West’s seventh seed also if both the Ducks and Blues lose out in regulation.

Head spinning yet?

It gets worse if the Preds beat Detroit tonight and the Wild beats the Preds in OT…But we’ll save that for another day.

Bottom Line: The Wild need to win out.  Plain and simple.  If they can’t do that, then they had best warm up their golf swings for another long summer.

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Written by bcbenzel

April 9, 2009 at 11:13 am

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