A 5-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes was the opposite of what the Wild needed Saturday night, and to make matters worse the Arizona Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche earned points to keep the wild-card race extremely tight.
Colorado topped Chicago for two points to supplant the Wild from the last wild-card spot, and the Coyotes lost in overtime in New Jersey to earn a point.
Wild Card standings entering play Sunday:
- Dallas - 82 points
- Colorado - 80 points
- Minnesota - 79 points
- Arizona - 79 points
- Chicago - 74 points
Adding to the stress level is that Minnesota has just six games remaining whereas Dallas, Colorado and Arizona each have seven games, which is effectively two points sitting on the table, up for grabs for each of them.
According to Hockey Reference playoff probabilities, the Wild has a 19.1 percent chance to make the playoffs. The others:
- Dallas - 86.0 percent
- Colorado - 59.2 percent
- Arizona - 32.4 percent
Sunday is another huge day in the playoff chase. Arizona plays the New York Islanders at 2 p.m. and Colorado is in Chicago for a 6 p.m. puck drop. Dallas and Minnesota are idle.
The Wild hosts Nashville on Monday and then gets three days off before the final five games are played in a sprint of nine days, and all of them are against high-end competition.
- Mar. 29 - at Vegas (90 points)
- Mar. 31 - at Arizona (79 points)
- Apr. 2 - vs. Winnipeg (94 points)
- Apr. 4 - vs. Boston (101 points)
- Apr. 6 - at Dallas (82 points)
Fortunately, Colorado and Arizona don't have easy schedules either. Colorado still has to face the Blackhawks, Golden Knights, Coyotes, Blues, Oilers, Jets and Sharks while Arizona will be up against the Islanders, Blackhawks, Avalanche, Wild, Kings, Golden Knights and Jets.