Champagne bottles were popping after the Wild clinched a playoff spot Saturday night. Earlier in the day the Wild got embarrassed at home in a 4-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks, who had won just six of their last 23 games.
The only reason the Wild clinched is because the Los Angeles Kings lost in regulation to the New York Rangers.
“That was embarrassing. I’m embarrassed,” Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau said. “If I were the fans I would be booing even more because they pay good money for this, and to see an effort like that?"
The Wild are lucky they were the best team in the league from December to February because they're literally the second-worst team in the league in March. Sunday's loss was Minnesota's 10th in 13 March games. Only the New Jersey Devils (2-10 in March) have been worse.
“There’s a lot of guys I’m disappointed in right now. I’m not going to mention names. They might be disappointed in me — I don’t know,” Boudreau said. “But I know one thing — we’re not going to use fatigue as an excuse anymore. I don’t care if we play four nights in a row, we’re going to be practicing hard when we start practicing again. Practicing hard. See how bad they want to get out of it. Because talking to them and being nice isn’t the way right now.”
Boudreau should be worried and angry. The Wild are backing into the playoffs and there's a good chance they play the Blues in the first round and then, if they're lucky enough to advance, they'd probably face Chicago in the second round.
The Blues and Blackhawks each have 19 points compared to the Wild's six points in March. Yikes.