Maybe the answer to getting the monkey off their back is clinching a playoff spot. The Wild can do just that – and maybe bust out of their March slide – one of three ways Saturday night. They clinch if:
- They beat the Canucks
- The Kings lose to the Rangers in regulation
- They lose to the Canucks in OT or a shootout and the Kings lose in OT or a shootout
Meanwhile, the Wild might as well stop watching what the Blackhawks do. Chicago is eight points ahead of Minnesota and an 89% favorite to win the Central Division, according to PlayoffStatus.com.
Instead, they should be scoreboard watching St. Louis and Nashville. The Wild are likely to finish second in the division, meaning their first-round playoff opponent will be the Blues or Predators (the team that places third in the division).
Tied at 85 points, the Blues host Calgary Saturday and the Predators host the Sharks on the second night of a back-to-back.
Minnesota lost three of five to St. Louis this season and they've beaten Nashville three out of four with one more to go.
Not only have the Wild fared better against Nashville, but playing the Blues comes with added pressure since ex-Wild head coach Mike Yeo is now the head coach in St. Louis.