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Time Off Comes At The Right Time For Wild

by Evan Sporer / Minnesota Wild

As Matt Dumba said after the Minnesota Wild played the St. Louis Blues on Sunday, finishing up one of Minnesota's busiest stretches on the schedule, "The last couple of weeks we've been all over the map."

The path traveled for the Wild went on a temporary hiatus after its loss against the Blues, with three days separating it from its next game, a Thursday matchup against the Edmonton Oilers in Saint Paul.

The Wild's game against St. Louis was the second half of a back-to-back, Minnesota's third game in four days, its eighth in 13, and 15th in the past 29 days.

"The schedule’s been kind of unrelenting," Ryan Carter said.

When the weather gets colder, the NHL schedule condenses in a manner almost true to science and molecular theory.

Over the past months, the molecules that are the Wild's players have been downright frozen by how often they've had to play. So as the Wild didn't practice on Tuesday, its second consecutive off day, the break in the schedule was likely coming at the right time.

"These next couple of days will be good for us to just regroup, and try to get going on the right track here," Dumba said.

Consider also, like Dumba said, the travel and circumstances that have come during that stretch. The Wild played three sets of back-to-backs, had a Western Canada swing, played in its 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game against the Chicago Blackhawks, played seven times on the road, and left the country twice.

Of course, the other thing that has happened during that time was Minnesota reestablishing its playoff footing.

"We’ve gotten ourselves back in the conversation," Carter said. "Things are going in the right direction, so we have to make sure we focus on that coming off this."

Rest is hard to come by in an 82-game season that takes place over 184 days (including 2016's leap-day).

The Wild also underwent a coaching change in the past 29 days, and given how hectic the schedule has been, it's limited the opportunities interim Head Coach John Torchetti has had to put his players through a practice.

"I'm pretty excited about getting on the ice with the guys," Torchetti said.

Though that 29-day stretch didn't begin how the Wild would have liked it, Minnesota has gone 8-4-0 over its past 12, not limping through the final portions of a busy span, but punctuating it.

"There were a lot of emotions throughout these past couple of weeks, and we've handled it really well," Dumba said. "We've been playing some really good hockey, so [Sunday] was just one of those nights."

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