Minnesota's 5-2 victory Thursday night made certain that the Dallas Stars can no longer catch them in the standings, and it made it very likely that they'll clinch a playoff berth within a week.
“There’s still a long ways to go,” said Zach Parise, according to the Pioneer Press. "To get the points, that’s been important to give ourselves a chance and some breathing room.”
Minnesota's magic number to clinch a playoff spot is 5 points.
Entering play Friday, the Wild have 96 points and if the playoffs started today they would me matched up with the Winnipeg Jets.
The only way that first-round pairing changes is if St. Louis or Colorado is able to take third place in the Central Division from the Wild, and the odds of that happening appear slim.
Mike Yeo's Blues have 91 points with six games to play while the Avalanche have 90 points and only five games left.
If St. Louis wins all six of its games to finish with 103 points, the Wild would simply have to go 3-2-1 to force a tiebreaker, which is currently neck-in-neck between the two clubs.
The Wild are back in action Saturday night at Dallas.