Four keys to the Wild's stretch run

  • Article by: Michael Russo , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 26, 2014 - 8:37 AM

The Wild holds a five-point lead for the first of two wild card spots in the Western Conference. But in a league that features 25 teams holding a playoff berth or within four points of one, that cushion can evaporate in an instant.

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bhrnew1lFeb. 25, 1410:37 PM

Here is my prediction for the first game against Edmonton, I know the Oilers are one of the worst hockey teams on the planet and have nothing to play for, we all know that. I say the Wild get crushed but good in this contest, I know Yeo is trying to set the tone, that horrible Oiler team is going to crush

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cledezmaFeb. 26, 14 7:43 AM

Having to play without the top guys, sometimes all at once, set the Wild up for a very strong finish. It hastened the maturity of players such as Haula, Granlund and Nino, creating an environment where there are no excuses, so it would be difficult to envision a letdown with Koivu and Parise back in the lineup full-time. The unsung hero is Kuemper, thriving where many would have been overwhelmed with the psychological burden.

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mgalaforetFeb. 26, 14 8:43 AM

Agree, but in order to win more on the road, the team needs to score more goals at even strength. You know, that's the statistic I always target Parise about. Home goals are 80, 18 of which are power play. Road goals are 59, 16 of which are power play. So fairly even split, home versus road. Parise has scored 7 goals less on the road, than at home. To put another way, Parise's reduction in scoring accounts for 33% of the total reduction in team goals scored on the road. Coyle is also having a tough time scoring on the road, and to a lesser degree Nino. But they are young, and not making $12MM per year.

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lbeezyFeb. 26, 14 9:38 AM

I think bhrnew is a worse troll than Mgala, who at least backs his ridiculous arguments up with some in depth facts. Anyways, the top thing is getting healthy and Yeo not out thinking himself. Pair Granny-Pommer-Parise and keep that chemistry going. Put the big boys together and for the sake of us all slide Brodz to 3rd line center and have Haula center Fontaine and Cooke. Maybe Fletch will get lucky and Backstrom will retire at years end. He gave us a lot of good play, but he just doesn't have it anymore and his lateral quickness is gone. In the NHL you need a goalie with size and quickness. Keumper has both, so it's time to see what he's got when you need him most. Notice all the top goaltenders in the league are 6'4"+ and extremely quick laterally.

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lbeezyFeb. 26, 14 9:40 AM

Brodz to the 4th line. Sorry!

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hatoradeFeb. 26, 14 9:56 AM

so over backstrom. i know they felt they had to re-sign him in the off-season, but yuck what an unfortunate waste of money that was.

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dirtydogsFeb. 26, 14 9:58 AM

+1 on the Brodz comment. Or move him off the roster. 2 years, nice salary, limited production. Haula should take his spot in the lineup.

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bryologyFeb. 26, 1410:20 AM

The only reason the Mild did well when Koivu was out of the line-up is because Koivu was out of the line-up. MEAKko Koivu is the problem with this team. With him we cannot win and we will never make a deep playoff run. With him, the possibilities are endless!

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clinto1054Feb. 26, 1410:32 AM

If this is my club - thank goodness it isn't - I am bringing another goalie on this trip and shopping HARD for another. Just because Kuemper is on a roll, young and healthy doesn't mean that if he goes down and can't play this team is in a huge hole if they don't have a strong second option. They currently don't. Backstrom should be sat until he is really ready - he obviously isn't. I think the guy at Des Moines is Gustafson? He should be on this trip for sure.

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headstyleFeb. 26, 1410:53 AM

I believe there is a spot on the 3rd line for Koivu. He is a VERY GOOD 2-way player, and perfect for the 'Stopper' line. Have Brodz\Haula battle for 4th line. (I'm leaning Haula, perhaps give Brodz a shot at 4th line Wing) Ultimately, I don't care what the lines are, as long as they WIN. Get these young guys all the experience they need for the coming years, because...I believe Backstrom will be bought out, and Koivu will be traded after this season.

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