The stage is set for Minnesota’s game on Friday against the Oilers — get a win, get into the playoffs.
“It’s an important time for us as a team and, I think, as an organization,” Zach Parise told the Minnesota Star-Tribune. “We really need to play our best hockey right now. ’’
The Wild head into Friday’s action sitting eighth in the West with 53 points, one back of seventh-place Detroit and tied with Columbus, though ahead of the Blue Jackets in the standings thanks to games played.
(Minnesota has two games left, including Saturday’s season finale against Colorado; Columbus plays Nashville in its season finale, also on Saturday.)
If they’re going to get to the postseason for the first time since 2008, the Wild will need to break out of a month-long slump. Minnesota is just 4-7-1 in the month of April and has had a difficult time scoring goals, getting shut out three times while scoring two goals or fewer nine times.
Of course, one of those nine times was a 2-1 win over Los Angeles on Tuesday, a huge momentum builder as the Wild now look to take maximum points from the Oilers an Avs in the final two games of the year.
A pair of wins would get the Wild 57 points, giving them a slim hope of moving all the way up to sixth in the West.
For now, though, all the club is focused on is getting into the dance.
“[Friday’s game] is just as big as the last game,” said forward Kyle Brodziak. “We’ve got to get back on the horse and go back at it.”
Derek Roy has finally found work — but it’s not in the NHL.
Roy, who spent the entire preseason in Washington’s camp on a PTO, has signed with SC Bern of Switzerland’s National League A, the club announced on Friday.
The news comes after Roy narrowly missed out on making the Caps roster, and just one year after he had something of a bounce-back campaign in Edmonton, scoring 22 points in 46 games while developing chemistry with young winger Nail Yakupov.
A 12-year NHL veteran, Roy is one of the more prominent names to be squeezed out of work this season, and head overseas. The 31-year-old has scored over 500 points in 738 career contests, and has twice represented Canada at the World Hockey Championships.
With Bern, Roy will play on one of Switzerland’s stronger teams, alongside a trio of ex-NHLers: Chuck Kobasew, Andrew Ebbett and Cory Conacher.
Robin Lehner might not be back anytime soon.
Making his debut with the Buffalo Sabres, the 24-year-old goaltender couldn’t complete Thursday’s game against his former squad, the Ottawa Senators, due to what has now been revealed to be a right leg injury.
When he left the arena, he was wearing a walking boot on that nearly went up to his knee.
“It doesn’t look like it’s short term,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma told the Buffalo News. “It’s more than day-to-day at this point, but we need to evaluate further.”
It’s a rocky start to what’s an important campaign for Lehner. He has been given an opportunity to demonstrate that he’s ready to be a starting goaltender after being acquired by the Sabres over the summer, but it looks like that will have to be postponed.
While he’s sidelined, Chad Johnson is likely to be leaned on heavily.