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Race gets tighter as Blues win, Wild lose in a shootout

Another huge point to hold off the Blues, Ducks, Kings and Avs.

The Western Conference Playoff race tightened a little more Tuesday night as the St. Louis Blues won a sixth straight game while the Wild picked up another critical point in a shootout loss in Nashville. 

Minnesota was stymied by Nashville's defense all night until Eric Staal tied the game 1-1 with his 40th goal of the season late in the third period. 

Entering play Wednesday, the Wild remain in third place in the Central Division with 94 points, just three points ahead of St. Louis, who controls one of the two wild cards. Anaheim, the other wild card holder, lost in regulation to Vancouver Tuesday night to remain at 91 points. 

It may not sound like much, but that one point the Wild earned Tuesday night could be the difference maker. 

"You don't want to wait going through the gauntlet in California [to close the season] needing all three wins or something like that," goalie Dubnyk said, according to Wild.com. "We've been playing some good hockey and some good playoff-like hockey. So it's nice for us. We have to keep going."

The Wild are 3-0-3 in their last six games, so while they're taking care of their own business, it can't hurt if some of the teams chasing them lose a little more often. 

Here are the playoff-impacting games through Friday. 

Wednesday

  • Colorado vs. Philadelphia

Thursday

  • Wild vs. Dallas
  • Kings vs. Arizona

Friday

  • St. Louis at Vegas
  • Anaheim vs. Kings
  • Colorado vs. Chicago

Minnesota has six games to play, and reaching 100 points should guarantee them a spot in the postseason. That means they need to go 2-2-2 or better to finish. 

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