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Stanley Cup Final

Wild prove their worth among Western Conference elite with strong performance in playoffs

Wednesday, 05.14.2014 / 3:55 PM / News

The Canadian Press

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Wild prove their worth among Western Conference elite with strong performance in playoffs

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Throughout an up-and-down season, the Minnesota Wild lagged behind the leaders of the Central Division.

With an extended test against two of the top teams in the playoffs, though, the Wild clearly passed.

Despite their season-ending overtime defeat in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinal series on Tuesday against the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, the Wild proved they can play with and beat the top teams.

General manager Chuck Fletcher's moves have begun to bear fruit, starting with the hiring of a young head coach in Mike Yeo and staying with him throughout some rough stretches. Addressing Yeo's contract is one off-season priority for Fletcher. Also high on the list is determining a dependable goalie tandem.

Quote of the Day

That's a really tough thing to play through; when you finally are thrown out there, the game is fast, intense, every single play matters, you've got to find a way to play through that and make smart plays. So it's a huge testament to [Vermette] and some other individuals in our locker room that are putting their own ego, their own wants and needs aside, and are ready for those opportunities when they do come.

— Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews on teammate Antoine Vermette, who returned from being a healthy scratch in Game 3 to score the double-overtime winner in Game 4