While Thanksgiving has come and gone, and with it, the typical marker for whether a team in the NHL is going to be in the playoffs or not, we shouldn't lose hope. The Minnesota Wild were sinking in the standings all season long until this recent hot streak under new coach John Hynes has seen them scratch and claw over some teams on the rotting pile that is the bottom of the Western Conference.
And now, the Wild appear to be making up for lost time in their search to make the playoffs for the 12th time in the last 13 years.
As it stands on Thursday morning, the Wild have earned 22 points and are just five points behind the St. Louis Blues for the second Wild Card spot. But, thankfully, the Wild have two games in hand on those evil Blues, and by point percentage, they only have the Nashville Predators ahead of them out of teams currently not in playoff position.
The only thing that is holding them back is the surging Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers are making an even stronger push from an even worse position after their coaching change. They have found their stride winning five consecutive games and are climbing. Plus, the Calgary Flames aren't going anywhere with a .460 point percentage.
So, there is just so much competition for those two Wild Card spots in the West. The Coyotes and Blues currently hold them, the Predators are right behind and swapping positions with them every night, the Flames are sticking around, and the Oilers are coming up from the depths with the most talented squad out of all of them. Oh, and the Wild are in the middle of it all.
It is going to be a long 59 games left.
- Marco Rossi is really tying the Wild's top line together. The rookie center was desperately wanted by fans to be in that top center position, but now that it appears that he is ready, he is taking full advantage of the opportunity. [Hockey Wilderness]
- What has been key for the Wild's recent streak? Starting the game on the right foot. [The Hockey News]
Off the trail...
- As we mentioned, the Edmonton Oilers were once drowning at the bottom of the league standings, and have now won five consecutive games and are really roaring to be back in the playoff race. That feels crazy. [Sportsnet]
- Hey, a transaction! The Buffalo Sabres have acquired forward Eric Robinson from the Columbus Blue Jackets for a pick. Cool! [NHL dot com]
- Patrick Kane is set to make his debut for the Red Wings on Thursday night against the Sharks. [DailyFaceoff]
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