Bruce Boudreau needs a miracle to make good on his Valentine's Day guarantee that the Wild will make the playoffs this year.
"I can tell you right now, I'm not Joe Namath but we're going to make the playoffs," said Boudreau on Feb. 14, echoing the famous guarantee Namath made before leading the Jets to an upset of the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.
"We're going to be somebody hard to deal with. I'm making that prediction right now," Boudreau added.
The Wild was actually in control of the second wild-card spot when Boudreau made the guarantee, but with the final week of the NHL's regular season upon us, the Wild find themselves four points out of a playoff spot with just three games to go.
Minnesota needs to win out and get help
Minnesota has six points left on the table, and if they get all six they'll finish the regular season with 87 points. It's possible that 87 points gets them into the playoffs, but they'll need Colorado, Arizona and Chicago to do a lot of losing.
Colorado currently controls the last wild-card spot with 85 points. They have four games to play so Minnesota needs to win out and hope the Avalanche don't claim more than two of eight points still up for grabs.
Colorado's remaining schedule:
- Monday: at St. Louis
- Tuesday: vs. Edmonton
- Thursday: vs. Winnipeg
- Saturday: at San Jose
Minnesota also needs Arizona (84 points) to stumble in its final three games. Best-case scenario again here is that the Wild wins out and Arizona wins no more than one of its remaining games.
Arizona's remaining schedule:
- Tuesday: vs. Los Angeles
- Thursday: at Vegas
- Saturday: vs. Winnipeg
The Wild also has a pesky Chicago team on its heels with 79 points. The Blackhawks have four games left so the best they can do is 87 points.
No matter the scenario, the Wild need to beat three really good teams this week to have a chance. They host Winnipeg and Boston on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively, followed by the season finale Saturday at Dallas.
"We're still alive," Ryan Suter said after Sunday's 4-0 loss to Arizona. "We have to regroup and find ways. We're not going to give up. We're going to keep fighting until the end. We'll play until they tell us we can't anymore. We're going to work and battle and do all the things we've been doing. Hopefully we score a few more."
Tie-breaking scenarios can get pretty crazy, so we'll save those for another day if the Wild are lucky enough to be in such a situation.