In four days, the season will come to an end for the Minnesota Wild after they were eliminated from playoff contention on Tuesday night.
Minnesota did its part, blowing by Winnipeg 5-1 at Xcel Energy Center, but the Colorado Avalanche scored six unanswered goals after trailing 2-0 to beat Edmonton. The Avalanche win officially eliminated the Wild from playoff contention.
"We were on the bench pretty excited when you see it's 2-nothing Edmonton," said Wild forward Zach Parise, who scored two goals in his return from an injury that kept him out of the previous four games. "And then next thing you look up it's 4-2 which is kind of demoralizing."
The Avalanche have 88 points and the best the Wild can do is finish with 87 points.
"If you miss it, you just get madder next year," head coach Bruce Boudreau said, "and you know what it feels like and that you don't want that feeling again."
Arizona also lost Tuesday night but can still claim the final wild-card spot if they win both remaining games and Colorado loses both of its games in regulation.
This is the first time in six years that Minnesota will miss the playoffs. It also marks the first time since 2011-12 that all of the men's professional teams in Minnesota miss the playoffs consecutively. The Twins didn't make it last summer and the Vikings, Wolves and United FC also failed to reach the playoffs.
Minnesota finishes the home schedule Thursday night against the Boston Bruins, then wraps up the season in Dallas on Saturday. Those two games are virtually meaningless, but Tuesday's NHL draft lottery is not.
The Wild have a very outside chance (8.2%) at landing a top-three pick, but will more than likely wind up picking 12th or lower. Minnesota's lottery chances are as follows, according to Tankathon.
- 1st pick - 2.5% chance
- 2nd pick - 2.7% chance
- 3rd pick - 3.0% chance
- 12th pick - 78.0% chance
- 13th pick - 13.3% chance
- 14th pick - 0.4% chance
- 15th pick - >0.0% chance
Let's hope the Wild get lucky and wind up with a top-five pick for the first time since 2005.