With losses in 10 of their 13 games so far in the month of March the Minnesota Wild are fading during the stretch run of the 2016-17 season.
It is a slump that has almost certainly cost them the Central Division crown (something they seemed destined to win as recently as a month ago) and has caused some concern with the playoffs just around the corner.
Things seemed to only get worse on Saturday when they were embarrassed on home ice by the Vancouver Canucks, a defeat that prompted coach Bruce Boudreau to pretty much rip into his team’s effort.
The only good news is they do not have to wait long to get back on the ice and get rid of the sour taste that effort left.
They will be making their final trip to Joe Louis Arena on Sunday afternoon when they visit the Detroit Red Wings. All of the action can be seen on NBC or via our Live Stream. Puck drop is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. ET.
While the Wild, a team that is headed to the playoffs and had been in contention for a division crown, is playing some of its worst hockey of the season right now, the Red Wings, a team going nowhere this season with nothing to play for, has put together a nice little run in recent weeks with a 3-1-1 record in its past five games, collecting seven out of a possible 10 points. Henrik Zetterberg, still the team’s best player even at age 36, has been playing especially well for the Red Wings over the last quarter of the season, collecting 30 points in his past 26 games. That includes five multi-point games in the month of March alone.
After Saturday’s loss to Vancouver the Wild now find themselves eight points back of the Blackhawks in the standings with eight games to play. This after the Wild held a five-point lead over the Blackhawks (with a game in hand) when the month of March began. That is a massive swing in the standings in a very short period of time, and will likely result in Boudreau failing to win a division title for just the second time in his career as an NHL coach.
Still, the Wild know they are going to the playoffs (they actually clinched a spot on Saturday, even with the loss to Vancouver) and they know they are now likely to be the second place team in the Central Division and get a first-round matchup with either the Nashville Predators or St. Louis Blues. Still, this is not the way they want to be heading into the playoffs.
They would probably like to start getting things back in the right direction on Sunday.