MN Wild gearing up for post-season

Fifteen days, 9 games. The Minnesota Wild have found an unusual amount of late season success leading into the playoffs. They expect to make their sixth consecutive post season appearance, and the first of those six without the Chicago Blackhawks qualifying. The Blackhawks have eliminated the Wild in three of their last five playoff runs.

Saturday, March 24, Minnesota will kick off their first of the final nine games against the Nashville Predators; Division rivals and the first team in the league to officially clinch their playoff spot. Nashville is currently leading the league’s standings by a full game (two points). Minnesota will face Nashville again on Mar. 27.

The Dallas Stars will be the only other divisional opponent in the closing of Minnesota’s regular season (March 29 and 31). However, the Wild will also see the Edmonton Oilers, San Jose Sharks, Las Angeles Kings, and Anaheim Ducks; all a part of the Western Conference and all besides Edmonton looking to maintain high positions in the standings.

As of now, Minnesota would see the Winnipeg Jets in Round One of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Jets are in second place in the Central Division and eight points ahead of Minnesota.

In the Wild’s last game, a 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, Eric Staal netted his 39th goal of the season. He is ten goals ahead of Jason Zucker’s second place 29 goals and only three away from Marian Gaborik’s franchise record. With one more, Staal will have completed his first 40-goal season in eight years.