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After shutout loss to Nashville, Wild in 'helpless' position with 5 games to go

Minnesota will be scoreboard watching until they play again on Friday.
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The way the Minnesota Wild has performed on home ice this season, it's a miracle they're not already eliminated from playoff contention. 

Monday's 1-0 loss to the Nashville Predators at Xcel Energy Center was a punch to the gut for a Wild team trying to MacGyver its way into the postseason for a seventh consecutive season. 

No matter how many pipes the Wild rang in the shutout loss, the fact of the matter remains that the Wild is now 5-13-5 in its last 23 games at Xcel Energy Center and they've scored two or fewer goals in eight of the last nine games. 

"That sort of epitomizes the way it was going and the season," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "Getting chances to score and not burying them, it's not for a lack of effort I think. The guys tried really hard and we didn't give Nashville anything I don't think. What can you do? It's very frustrating."

Entering play Tuesday, Minnesota has 79 points, tied with Arizona for ninth in the West, two points behind eighth-place Colorado. 

Wild-card race: 

  1. Stars: 84 points
  2. Avalanche: 81 points
  3. Coyotes: 79 points
  4. Wild: 79 points
  5. Blackhawks: 76 points

But now the Wild sits idle until playing in Vegas on Friday. Meanwhile, Colorado, Arizona and Chicago are all in action with chances to make the Wild's playoff gap bigger. 

Colorado hosts Vegas on Wednesday, Arizona has a huge game against Chicago on Tuesday, and the Blackhawks follow up Tuesday's game at San Jose on Thursday. 

If Colorado beats Vegas they'll have a four-point lead on the Wild entering play Friday, and if Minnesota loses at Vegas and the Avs beat Arizona on Friday, Minnesota could enter the weekend six points out of a playoff spot with just four games to go. That's all hypothetical, but it's an example of how dire the situation is right now. 

"As long as we're in a position to be able to make the playoffs, we'll draw on that," Boudreau said. "It is a helpless position [to not play until Friday]. There's not much we can do about it. Again, the dominoes have got to fall in the right area. As long as there's a breath in our body and we have an opportunity, we're going to go out and try to play like we did today."

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