Cracking Under Pressure: Wild Drop Second Straight to Detroit

The Minnesota Wild are not having the easiest time clinching a playoff spot.

Under Pressure

The surging team, led by superhuman goaltender Devan Dubnyk, lost its second straight game last night to the Detroit Red Wings. With Dubnyk in net, this is only the second time Minnesota has lost two games in a row. Coincidentally, the Red Wings were responsible for that loss last time, as well.

The Minnesota Wild are under a ton of pressure to make it to the playoffs, and I’d guess that’s most likely the reason for this little streak. It’s a lot easier to win when you have nothing to lose, and the Wild have a lot to lose right now. It also didn’t help that Wild captain Mikko Koivu was a late scratch for the game due to an eye injury, which split up Minnesota’s big top line.

Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild, Ryan Suter, NHL, Hockey
Zach Parise has been a huge leader during the past months for the Wild, helping push the team back into the playoff picture. (Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)

Now I know we could all try and find the positives and say, “at least it was a point.” And that would be correct. It was a shootout loss, and the Wild still got a point, but that’s just not enough for this team right now.

The Wild are currently sitting four points ahead of the Winnipeg Jets, who they happen to play Monday night. The Los Angeles Kings are also quickly climbing into the picture, putting Minnesota in a tight spot. Every point counts when trying to make it to the playoffs, and the Wild need everything they can get.

The Final Push

The Wild have one of the hardest season-ending schedules in the NHL, but that’s no excuse. This team has

come so far since the All-Star break, going 24-6-2, and it would be such a shame to watch them slip at this point. Minnesota still has to tackle a back-to-back against Winnipeg and Chicago this Monday and Tuesday, and then finish the season against Nashville and St. Louis.

Yeah, that’s not going to be easy.

But it’s possible. It’s more than possible; it’s very likely that the Wild make it to the postseason. Minnesota has come from the bottom of the pack to become one of the most exciting teams to watch, and they’ve got what it takes to finish this off.

In these past months, we’ve learned that Dubnyk is quite possibly a superhero, that Zach Parise plays with 110% every night, and that Mikko Koivu is necessary for shootouts. But we’ve also learned that this team is full of surprises. Two straight losses doesn’t mean the Wild are slipping. It only means that they have an insane schedule, they’re tired, and they need to hit the reset button. They need to give one final push.

This is by no means the end for the Wild. Just a bump in the road to the playoffs. This team merely needs to find a way to forget about the pressure they’re under, and play the way they have for the past two months.

What do you think: will the Wild be able to finish it off and make it to the playoffs, or will the pressure be too much?