I'm not talking about rooting for them to play bad, per se. Just...not win.
The Wild is in 13th place in the West, with 2 games remaining.
They have 37 wins and 81 points.
That puts them 22nd overall, ahead of the Thrashers (2-34-81), Islanders (3-34-78), Hurricanes (2-34-78), BJs (2-32-78), Panthers (3-31-74), Lightning (3-31-74), Leafs (2-29-72) and Oilers (3-25-58).
So, there's no chance the Cats, Bolts, Buds and Grease can catch/pass the Wild. So the worst the Wild can finish is 26th. Well, it just so happens that 26th overall is the "best" you can finish and still have a chance to win the draft lottery - by which I mean move up to the 1st overall pick.
The Wild needs the Thrashers, Isles, 'Canes and BJs to pass them in order for that to happen.
To start out with, the Wild plays at Calgary and home vs. Dallas to end the season. The Saddledome is a notorious house of pain for the Wild. And the Flames will likely be pissed that they missed the playoffs. Hell, Iginla alone will probably score like five goals in that game. Wild loss. Home Dallas, eh, Wild's better at home, will play Dallas tough, Ott tends to have the Wild's number....hard one to call. I'll play devil's advocate and say the Wild wins that game. That would give them 83 points on the season (with 38 wins.)
Atlanta's got a pretty tough road ahead (@WAS, v.PIT). But both of those teams will be in protect and preserve mode. The PIT game is a B2B, but I still think Atlanta will not win either of those games outright. Say they squeak out a loser point, I say they finish with 82 points.
The Isles also have a rough finish ahead (@PIT, @ NJ, vs. PIT). The last two games are B2B as well. I'm going to say the Isles come out with 3 points, one win. Hard to see them passing the Wild.
Carolina have games vs. Montreal and @BOS to end the season; and a travel day in between. At this point, both of those opponents are playing for something, so Carolina may take one point out of those two games, no wins. They're not passing the Wild.
So, let's talk BJs. They've got a home and home with the Red Wings. The Wings are in, but could still finish anywhere from 5th to 8th. Plus the Wings have been white hot. At best, I could see C-Bus taking a point out of their remaining games.
Yep, the Wild's pretty much locked in at 22nd.
Maybe Fletcher can trade up.