Almost a month ago, in PHT’s weekly Oddsmaker post, I asked whether the Minnesota Wild would make the playoffs. And of course I said no, passing up +175 odds in the process.
At the time, Minnesota was 10-5-3. Today it’s 20-7-3 and riding a seven-game winning streak.
Based on the 44-29-9 record that earned the Blackhawks eighth place in the Western Conference last season, the Wild would have to go a pedestrian 24-22-6 to make the playoffs.
Sports Club Stats has the Wild’s chances at 97.3%.
Even more promising for Minnesota fans, the team is starting to score some goals. The Wild has at least four goals in four of its last five games. Yesterday’s 4-1 victory over Phoenix was its first three-goal win since beating Calgary 3-0 on Nov. 8. Amazingly, there were 11 wins between – all by one goal, two goals, or in a shootout.
Altogether, Minnesota has 11 one-goal victories (most in the NHL) and six two-goal victories (most in the NHL).
Another thing going for the Wild is its Northwest Division schedule. Edmonton and Colorado started the season strong, but both have fallen off as expected. Calgary is playing better lately, but only marginally. The Canucks are the only elite team in that division.
So, yeah, Minnesota’s probably making the playoffs.
PS — Jinx!
According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Raffi Torres has been suspended pending his disciplinary hearing with the league for his hit on Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.
Torres was assessed a match penalty for targeting Silfverberg’s head on Saturday night.
The 33-year-old missed all of last season with a knee injury, and it looks like the start of his regular season will be delayed once again.
Head coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have come back into the game, but he was held out for precautionary reasons.
Ducks center Ryan Kesler didn’t hide his feelings after the contest.
“(Torres) is the same player every year,” Kesler told reporters. “He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”
The Edmonton Oilers placed Ben Scrivens on waivers on Sunday.
Should he go unclaimed, the 29-year-old will be sent to the American Hockey League.
It looks like Edmonton will enter the regular season with Cam Talbot and Anders Nilsson as their goaltenders.
Scrivens was the team’s number one goalie last year, but his overall numbers were among the worst for starting goaltenders in the NHL.
He had a 15-26-11 record with a 3.16 goals-against-average and a .890 save percentage in 57 games last season.
Scrivens is scheduled to make $2.3 million in the final year of his contract.
If he does end up in the AHL, the Oilers will carry $1.35 million of dead money on the salary cap.
The move comes one day after Edmonton placed Nikita Nikitin on waivers.
The 29-year-old officially cleared on Sunday afternoon.