Four wins in a row under new head coach John Torchetti — combined with a couple of losses by the Colorado Avalanche — have seen the Minnesota Wild’s playoff chances jump from 33.4 percent on Feb. 13 to 74.2 percent, according to website Sports Club Stats.
The Wild won their fourth straight on Sunday, blasting the Chicago Blackhawks, 6-1, outdoors at TCF Bank Stadium. A few hours later, the Avs dropped a 5-1 decision in Vancouver, where the Canucks hadn’t won since Jan. 11.
Barring the unexpected, the Wild, Avalanche and Predators will compete for the two wild-card spots in the West. Arizona and Vancouver have each seen their playoff hopes plummet in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, in the East, the New Jersey Devils were the big losers of the weekend. They lost 1-0 to the Isles on Friday and 4-3 to the Caps on Saturday, dropping their playoff chances to just 26.0 percent.
The Tampa Bay Lightning were the big gainers, earning victories Saturday and Sunday in Pittsburgh and Carolina, respectively. The Bolts, after winning just once in five outings, have now won three straight, increasing their playoff chances from 78.9 percent early last week to 93.2 percent today.
The Red Wings might be the most vulnerable team currently in a playoff spot. They’re 1-2-3 in their last six, though they still have a 69.9 percent chance of appearing in their 26th straight postseason.