One month ago today the Minnesota Wild held a 7-point lead over the Chicago Blackhawks and were strong bets to have home ice advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs.
Now, after losing six of eight games in March, the Wild are three points behind Chicago and decent bets to hit the road to play the Blackhawks in the second round. That's a scary proposition since the Wild have lost eight straight playoff games in Chicago.
More: One month ago, the Wild had an 84% chance to win the Central Division. That number is now just 38%.
In our story published Feb. 17 about the Wild's playoff chances we wrote: "The Wild could completely fall apart and lose 16 of their final 25 games and still finish with 100 points. That’s probably not going to happen."
Um, that might actually happen. They have to win four of their final 13 games to eclipse 100.
In that same story, we noted that "Minnesota has won 66.6 percent of its games this season. Winning at that rate equates to 16-17 additional wins and a point total somewhere between 112-122."
To reach 112 points now the Wild have to win 10 more games.
What's more disappointing is that if Chicago just plays .500 hockey the rest of the way they'll finish with 107 points. That would force the Wild to win at least eight games to win the Central.
But the way the Blackhawks are rolling, it's hard to see them winning fewer than 8-10 of their final 12 games, which would put them between 111-115 points, all but killing the Wild's hopes of having home ice in a potential second-round meeting with Chicago.