On Wednesday night, the Wild lost 4-0 against the St. Louis Blues at Enterprise Center in St. Louis.
Wild.com's Dan Myers provides three takeaways in the Postgame Hat Trick, presented by Associated Bank. Learn more on how to score up to $500 by opening a Wild Checking account.
1. Not their night.
The Wild actually played a pretty solid first period. Minnesota outshot St. Louis by a 13-11 margin, and more than half of those shots were absolute grade-A chances on goaltender Ville Husso. Kirill Kaprizov, Mats Zuccarello, Ryan Hartman and Matt Dumba were just a few of the guys who had unbelievable scoring opportunities and didn't cash in.
But it wasn't for a lack of effort.
Husso was outstanding in the first 20 minutes, a stretch of game where the Blues built a 2-0 lead on goals by Ivan Barbashev and Jaden Schwartz.
Had the Wild been able to cash in early, it very well may have been a different game.
Instead, St. Louis scored twice in the first and two more times in the second to build a four-goal lead through 40 minutes, all but ending the Wild's chances on this night.
2. On the road again.
For the first time in more than two weeks, the Wild played a road game on Wednesday night. It will do so again in the regular season finale on Thursday night, as Minnesota and St. Louis each cap the 2020-21 regular campaign with what is now a meaningless game in terms of the standings.
Wednesday's results made sure of that.
Entering the game, the Wild still had a slim chance of earning home-ice in the first round, but needed to sweep the Blues and hope for a Kings sweep of the Avalanche out in Denver.
Video: Dean Evason postgame at St. Louis
Neither one of those things happened.
So no matter what happens on Thursday night at the Enterprise Center, both the Wild and Blues know they'll open the Stanley Cup Playoffs as the underdog, on the road, against either the Golden Knights or the Avalanche.
The answer to that question won't come until Thursday.
3. So what does it all mean?
When Colorado defeated Vegas 2-1 at T-Mobile Arena on Monday night, the Knights no longer controlled their own destiny. Had Vegas won on home ice, it would have clinched the West Division championship and the President's Trophy, but instead, the Avs took advantage of the shorthanded Knights and made it possible for Colorado to take both of those honors.
Vegas began Wednesday night two points up on Colorado, and won in San Jose in its own regular season finale. The Avs won too, blowing out the Kings in Denver.
Video: Players postgame at St. Louis
Colorado has one final chance on Thursday to even the season standings with Vegas, and if it does, it's the Avalanche that will claim the division and the League's best record.
For Wild fans, that makes Thursday night's game in the Mile High City one to watch. If Colorado wins, Minnesota will travel to Las Vegas for Round 1. If the Avs lose, the Wild will head to Denver.
Overtime and/or shootout results won't matter in this one ... if Colorado finds a way to two points in any fashion, that'll be enough to win the division and send the Wild to Sin City.