The Minnesota Wild have a successful regular season that earned them the sixth seed in the western conference. They met up with the St. Louis Blues in the first round of the playoffs and pulled off the upset relatively easily. Unfortunately, they were brought back down to earth quickly, when they were swept in the second round by the eventual champion Chicago Blackhawks.
The Minnesota Wild’s schedule provides them with the opportunity to rub in their first round victory over the Blues in the second game of the schedule. If the Wild share the puck and keep the attack on full force they should be able to defeat the Blues once again. The Wild will be tested shortly into the season with games against the Stanley Cup finals representatives Chicago and Tampa Bay, before another game with the Blues. October 30th against the Blackhawks will be a great test for the Wild’s confidence level. It is impossible to be confident against a team that swept you in the postseason, but it is imperative for Minnesota to pick up a victory over Chicago so if nothing else, they at least know they are capable. If they want to become a contender, the Blackhawks are a team they will have to compete with.
Graphic via rantsports
For the Wild to improve on their 2014 regular season record, the month of January will be very important. The first half of the Minnesota Wild’s schedule is challenging, but things ease up greatly in January, where they face many of the lesser teams in the western conference. It would benefit them greatly to make a solid push in January and attempt to earn a top four seed next season. It is also important because ramp up again towards the end of the season when they play the Blackhawks a couple more times within a ten day period. Overall, the Minnesota Wild schedule presents an opportunity for another playoff berth. There are some challenges along the way, but it could be much worse for them. Last season the Wild showed that they are moving in the right direction, but at the same time showed they may not quite be ready to compete for the Stanley Cup. The Wild can score with the best teams in the NHL, but they struggle to defend on the other side. They could use better defense and goaltending to take their game to the next level. Their offense proved to be enough to put them over the top against the Blues, but it takes a total effort to compete with the teams such as Chicago, Tampa Bay, etc. It is hard to say whether the Blues overachieved or the Wild just fell apart against the champs, but we will find out in 2015.
Graphic via rantsports