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  • Pick Your Poison: Wild's Potential First-Round Matchups


    The Wild are almost assuredly going to the playoffs this season, which is a pretty remarkable thing in itself, considering how far out of the race the Wild were.

    That means exiting Round 1. And at this time, there are only four possible teams the Wild could be matched up against in Round 1 of the playoffs. I've got nothing better to do today, so let's check them all out.

    Overall Chances of Facing Them: 43.6%

    Point Total Most Likely to Draw Them: 99-102

    Record Against, 14-15: 2-1-1

    Record Against, Last 3 Years: 7-4-1

    Fear Factor: 5. Most Wild fans express a preference for facing the Preds, and that's probably reasonable. But Rinne and that defense means there's a reason the Preds are competing for a President's Trophy. They won't be pushovers.

    Overall Odds of Facing Them: 21.3%

    Point Total Most Likely to Draw Them: 104-107

    Record Against, 14-15: 2-0-1

    Record Against, Last 3 Years: 3-5-3

    Vulnerabilities: The Blues' goaltending is shaky, and the Blues manage to find a way to lose around this time of year. TJ Oshie's one passable skill is rendered completely irrelevant in the playoffs.

    Fear Factor: 9. The Wild generally get beaten up by the Blues, particularly on the road. Of the 3 wins vs. St. Louis in the last 3 seasons, the Wild only really played well in one of them. It's a bad track record. St. Louis' equally bad track record is the only thing keeping them from being a 10.

    Overall Odds of Facing Them: 18.2%

    Point Total Most Likely to Draw Them: 95-99

    Record Against, 14-15: 0-3-0

    Record Against, Last 3 Years: 1-7-1

    Vulnerabilities: Despite leading the league in points, the Ducks aren't a very good possession team, ranking middle-of-the-pack in most metrics. Which is weird, because they're not riding hot goaltending, or unsustainable shooting numbers. They just keep winning. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Fear Factor: 7. The Ducks have seemed to have the Wild's number in recent years, but there's no reason on paper the Wild can't win a series against the Ducks.

    Overall Odds to Face Them: 16.7%

    Point Total Most Likely to Draw Them: 105-107

    14-15 Record Against: 1-3-0

    Last 3 Years Record Against: 5-12-3 (8-including playoffs)

    Fear Factor: 7 with Kane, 6 without him. The Wild played the Blackhawks tough last season, with "SHOWTIME!" Kane being the X-factor that propelled the Hawks to the Western Conference Finals. With a better team, and better goaltending, the Wild should be able to give the sputtering Blackhawks all they can handle. That in mind, the Blackhawks know how to turn on the jets and make a playoff run.

    Regardless of who the Wild draw in the first round, they aren't going to play any pushovers. Sure, you can have your preferences, and I have mine. But despite any flaws in each team, they've done the work necessary to get to the playoffs in a very tough Western Conference, and unlike last year, there's no way the Wild can face a fluke in Round 1. With how the Wild have played in the last two and a half months, they also have legitimate Cup ambitions. To legitimize them, they'll have to show that they beat any team that they put in front of them.

    But it's no fun to say "Whatever, bring them on." What do you think?

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