With only one game remaining in the regular season, the Minnesota Wild’s Round 1 Stanley Cup Playoff opponent is still up in the air. Though, the Wild isn’t concerning itself with juggling the Western Conference scenarios. The team’s focus is not on the multiple balls in play in the West, but on its final foe, the St. Louis Blues.
Regardless, Minnesota’s game in St. Louis at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Scottrade Center will have playoff implications and the Gateway City is a possible destination for the opening round. Minnesota can still climb into the third spot in the Central Division with a win against the Blues and a Chicago Blackhawks loss to the Colorado Avalanche. If that’s the case, Minnesota will travel to Nashville for Game 1, where if just topped the Predators on Thursday, 4-2.
The other scenarios will include the outcome between the Anaheim Ducks and Arizona Coyotes. Both the Hawks’ and Ducks’ games don’t start until 9 p.m. State of Hockey Time, so that explains why Head Coach Mike Yeo isn’t concerning himself with possibilities. He’d rather look at the certain, which is tomorrow’s opponent, the Blues.
“Really kind of pointless to try and rack our brains and try to figure it all out right now,” Yeo said. “Just get ready for our game tomorrow.”
With the Blues still a possible opening round opponent, Yeo doesn’t believe tomorrow’s contest will send any kind of message.
“I don’t think tomorrow’s game is any kind of indication of what to expect going forward,” Yeo said.
The bench boss still has to make lineup decisions, but said that Zach Parise, Thomas Vanek and Nino Niederreiter will all be back in action after getting the night off in Nashville. Defenseman Nate Prosser will be back on the blue line and goaltender Devan Dubnyk will be between the pipes.
Yeo did note that the odds are that St. Louis would be the Wild’s first round matchup and was complimentary of the Blues. He said they’re a talented, deep team that plays with structure and a hard game.
“It’s a great challenge every time you go and play against them, let alone a seven game series,” Yeo said.
After the Wild’s matinee against St. Louis, a few scenarios could be eliminated, but then again, maybe not. Regardless, the club will have a difficult first round, which will begin on the road and the work will start on Sunday.
“We’ll find out tomorrow night,” Yeo said. “We’ll start getting to work on our opponent and then we’ll either have two or three good days of practice to get ourselves ready.”
Yeo was referencing when the series would begin, just one more scenario to think about…