Saying the Wild looked rejuvenated in Tuesday's 5-4 win over the Blue Jackets might be an understatement.
A little more than 24 hours after the NHL trade deadline passed with the Wild staying quiet despite numerous reports indicating Minnesota's roster was about to be blown up, the Wild looked fresh in building a three-goal lead and hanging on for a huge win in a very tight Western Conference wild-card race.
Mikko Koivu scored twice, doubling his season goal total in a span of 7 minutes and 42 seconds, and Kevin Fiala potted the deciding goal in a crazy third period in which Columbus twice cut the deficit to one.
"It's rewarding if we make the playoffs. If we don't, I don't think anyone will remember if I had two goals or not," Koivu said, via Wild.com.
"With one game, if you can help the team to get the win, for sure, it's a good feeling. That's about it, then I'd move on to the next one and like we talked before, that's kinda the situation we are in and we gotta get ourselves out of it and make sure that we keep playing better and better and get some more points."
Hours after the Wild picked up to points in the standings, Arizona lost at home to Florida. That means the Wild are just three points out of the second wild-card spot entering play Wednesday.
More importantly, the Wild have games in hand on most of the teams they're fighting with for the two coveted wild cards. Current wild-card standings:
- Calgary - 72 points (64 games played)
- Nashville - 70 points (62 games played)
- Winnipeg - 70 points (65 games played
- Arizona - 70 points (66 games played)
- Minnesota - 67 points (62 games played)
At 30-25-7 with 20 games to go, the Wild are somehow still in a solid position to make a run at the playoffs, despite all the noise that has followed them after the Jason Zucker trade, Bruce Boudreau firing, and constant rumors ahead of Monday's trade deadline.
Minnesota can make some more noise in the playoff raise with back-to-back road games Thursday at Detroit and Friday in a rematch with Columbus.