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Postgame Hat Trick: Wild 5, Jets 1

Minnesota finishes regular season with perfect 5-0 record against Central Division rival

by Dan Myers @MNWildScribe / Wild.com

Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 5-1 win against the Winnipeg Jets at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Tuesday night:

1. The Wild finished off a perfect season against the Jets.

Minnesota entered the night with four wins in four games against its northern neighbors, and finished off a season sweep by scoring three goals in the first period and adding a fourth a couple minutes into the second period.

Video: WPG@MIN: Rask beats Comrie from sharp angle

It's a remarkable turnaround for the Wild against the Jets. Winnipeg went 3-1 in four regular season matchups last season, then disposed of Minnesota in five games in the First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

It also continues a see-saw trend between the clubs over the years. 

The Jets won four of five meetings in the 2015-16 season, while the Wild turned the tables the following year, winning four of five. 

After Winnipeg had its run last season, Minnesota was able to have its perfect run in 2018-19. Now the Wild will try and reverse that trend when the rivals re-connect next season.

2. Welcome back, Zach Parise.

The Wild's leading scorer missed the past four games with a lower-body injury, but looked perfectly fine on Tuesday, scoring a pair of goals early in the contest to get the Minnesota offense cooking.

Offense has been a problem for the Wild over the past couple weeks, as Minnesota scored just 15 goals over its past 10 games ... with five of those goals coming in one game alone. 

The lack of goal scoring has spoiled a stretch where Minnesota, structurally, has actually played pretty well.

On Tuesday, it was rewarded, and also got a bit of puck luck.

Video: WPG@MIN: Parise opens scoring on fluky goal

Nine minutes into the game, Greg Pateryn fired a centering pass that Jets goaltender Eric Comrie poked into the slot. Parise was there and touched the puck at the same time as a Jets defenseman, sending it skyward. Comrie had no idea where it was until it landed on his back and rolled into the net, giving the Wild a 1-0 lead.

It's the kind of luck Minnesota hasn't had all season.

Video: WPG@MIN: Parise pots loose puck for second goal

Parise scored his second just over three minutes later, driving the net and following up a push by Eric Staal, who took a defenseman with him, leaving the puck for Parise, who poked a quick shot past Comrie for a 2-zip advantage.

Parise now has 28 goals, and assuming he plays in the final two games of the season, has a decent chance at a 30-goal campaign. It would be Parise's second 30-goal season in a Wild uniform and his seventh as an NHLer. 

3. First they beat 'em, now they'll join 'em.

In spirit, that is. 

After finishing off a perfect season against the Jets, the Wild will become big Winnipeg fans over the remainder of the regular season. Assuming Edmonton can come back and win in Colorado on Tuesday (and why not think positively... right?) Minnesota will need Winnipeg to win out.

The Jets are locked in a three-team battle for the Central Division title, and nobody would be happier to see Winnipeg win its first division championship than the Wild ... Mostly because that would mean the Jets would have at least a modicum of success against teams Minnesota needs to lose down the stretch.

Video: WPG@MIN: Eriksson Ek goes bar down to pad lead

Winnipeg will finish the regular season on the road, going to Colorado on Thursday and to Arizona on Saturday. Minnesota needs the Jets to win both of those games -- while also winning each of its final two -- to have even a chance at the postseason. 

In what would likely be a first, Wild fans will certainly be thinking 'Go Jets Go' over the next couple days. And should things fall into place on Thursday, you might be screaming it at your television come Saturday night when Minnesota finishes its season in Dallas.

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