Someone was saying the other day that finishing second in the Northwest division is not as bad as you'd think.
The reason is that the 3-6 matchup in the first round will almost definitely be the NW division winner vs. the NW division runner up. As opposed to finishing 3rd or 4th in the NW (assuming the 4th place finisher makes the playoffs) where you'd end up playing either the Red Wings or the Sharks (it looks like) in the first round.
We know the Wild doesn't match up well with Detroit and San Jose, and they're not that much more successful against Calgary either. But against Vancouver and Colorado so far, it hasn't been too bad.
Look at the numbers for 07-08:
Wild vs. Detroit
Overall: 1-3-0 (9 GF, 17 GA)
Wild vs. San Jose
Overall: 0-2-2 (8 GF, 14 GA)
Wild vs. Calgary
Overall: 1-5-0 (13 GF, 16 GA)
Wild vs. Vancouver
Overall: 3-2-1 (17 GF, 20 GA)
Wild vs. Colorado
Overall: 4-2-0 (16 GF, 13 GA)
So, if the Wild wins or finishes second in the division, they have a 2/3 chance of playing a team they match up with pretty well. And at least they'd be familiar with the Flames. But if they finish 3rd or 4th in the division, they have a 100% chance of playing a team that they stink against.
In other words, yes: finishing second is as good as winning the division, match up wise, for the Wild.
Except I'm convinced that if MN doesn't win the division, Calgary will. Then a second place finish means starting the playoffs with two games in the Saddledome.
I think that makes a big enough difference that first place is significantly better than second in the Northwest.
You have a point...I'm not convinced it's going to matter whether or not the first two games are in St. Paul or Calgary if we play the Flames.
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