Throw out the numbers. It's do or die time. The Wild is fighting to get into the playoffs. Like so many other teams. Like the Bluejackets who just beat the Wild in a shootout. Like the Red Wings. (I had to double check that one.) If you told me at the beginning of the season the Wild would be fighting to get in to the playoffs - but still alive - with 7 games to go I would have taken it. This is about where I thought this team would be this season. Sure, the path hasn't always been pretty, but when is it ever? I mean, unless you're Pittsburgh, Chicago or Anaheim this season.
So forget about the stats, the injuries, the questionable calls....all that stuff is in the past. What we have in front of us today is a game we really need to win, in Calgary.
Normally that wouldn't be a great deal. We've had our troubles in Calgary. But this is a different Flames team. The scales of competitiveness have fallen from their eyes, and laid bare a team that was woefully short of contention. And now Iginla the mighty warrior is gone, Bouwmeester too. Kipper's head is bowed, his career stumbling to a close, as often as not backing up something called Joey MacDonald.
This is a team that finally has realized how much closer to the lottery they are than to the Cup.
So the Wild needs to beat them. Games against the Sharks and Kings loom, and that means that games against the Flames and the Oilers must be looked at as fertile grounds for 2 points.
Cullen may be back. Hopefully that helps. Bax is the man. Mikko is o-fer-April. Literally 0 points in 7 games so far in the month. -6, too. Parise only slightly better. These guys are on the top line. When the other lines run dry, we need our top line to produce. They need to produce. That's the whole story.