Did a win over the worst team in the NHL save Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo's job, and if so, for how long will he be safe?
The Wild cruised to a 4-1 victory over the Sabres in front of an anxious crowd at Xcel Energy Center on Thursday night.
The win snapped a franchise record six-game losing streak. As for Yeo's job, it seems to have saved the day... for at least one day.
Michael Russo is as plugged in to the Wild as anyone, and he put it like this in his postgame wrap:
Yeo was all smiles on the bench late in the game and cracked some jokes in the postgame. Again, all’s not safe for the coach yet, there were good signs on the ice the past two games as the Wild started to get back to the identity of being a defensively-solid team.
Tom Powers writes that Yeo's job status remains "day to day" and his status will be updated following Saturday's game against the Capitals, and games next week against the Kings, Coyotes and Avalanche, all of which are ahead of Minnesota in the Western Conference playoff race.
As of Friday, the Wild (47 points) is tied with Dallas for ninth place in the West, just two points behind Phoenix for the eighth and final playoff spot.
Not only did the win help take some heat off Yeo, it also provided goalie Niklas Backstrom with a breath of fresh air, so to speak.
"He is a huge story in the game for me considering that he came to the rink not even knowing that he was going to be playing," Yeo said of Backstrom, via the Pioneer Press. "He was huge in the game tonight even though we didn't give up a ton. We finally played a better game in front of him."
One win doesn't define a longterm change to consistently winning, but as defenseman Clayton Stoner optimistically said, "We are undefeated this year so it’s all good.”