Wild win, clinch berth -- Columbus eliminated
Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold can breathe a sigh of relief. Everything didn’t go exactly according to plan, but the Wild will at least participate in the playoffs after signing Zach Parise and Ryan Suter over the summer.
The Wild seemed like a lock to secure a playoff berth at one point, but they dropped nine of 13 contests from April 1-26 before finally coming through with a 3-1 victory against the Colorado Avalanche tonight.
Although, even their win against the worst team in the Western Conference wasn’t pretty. Colorado appeared to take a 2-1 lead early in the second period, but the goal was ultimately disallowed in a controversial decision.
You can see that below:
With Minnesota’s victory, the Columbus Blue Jackets have been eliminated. The two teams were tied in points, but the Wild claimed the tiebreaker (most regulation+overtime wins). The Blue Jackets were expected to have a horrendous season after trading away Rick Nash, but goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky led them in a surge that ultimately proved to be just a tad too late.
Minnesota will now play against the Presidents’ Trophy Chicago Blackhawks in the first round. The Wild have only made the playoffs in three other years and have never faced the Blackhawks in the postseason. They were the first team to beat Chicago this season -- a 3-2 shootout win on Jan. 30 -- but Chicago won their other two matches this season.
Chicago figures to be heavy favorites going into this series, but as we’ve seen before, anything can happen in the playoffs.