Most historians believe hockey was invented in Canada in 1875, so when the puck experts from Canada's Sportsnet start picking the Wild to reach the Stanley Cup Final, it can't be be a bad thing.
Three of four Sportsnet analysts have Minnesota in the Final, with one of them picking the Wild to beat the Boston Bruins for the Cup. The other two have Washington defeating the Wild for the Cup.
All of them have Minnesota advancing past the Blues.
Steve Burtch, an analytics guru for Sportsnet, writes:
"Most of this can be chalked up to elite defensive play from a very strong and deep side that can roll four lines and wear other teams down. Dubnyk backstops an elite defensive group that features the underrated top pair of Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon who played more 5v5 mins this year than any other duo in the NHL. This is the year the State of Hockey brings home the Cup."
What's Vegas saying?
Vegas insiders gave the Wild 6/1 odds to win the Cup. That's good for the third-best odds of any playoff team. St. Louis has the worst odds at 33/1.
OddShark's playoff preview puts the Wild in a group of candidates for early elimination.
"I really liked this team around the deadline date but with an 8-13 straight-up record in their final 21 games, the Wild could be packing their bags and hitting the links quicker than you can say expansion franchise. They’ll meet the Blues in the first round and if you didn’t breeze through this article to find the team you wanted to read about, you know St. Louis is on a heater right now and offers Minny an incredibly tough challenge in Round 1."
The experts at USA Today are going with the Penguins, Capitals and Blackhawks as Cup winners.
TSN's Scott Cullen has the Wild over the Blues in seven games before getting knocked out by, who else, the Chicago Blackhawks.