Minn. Wild’s season comes to a sad but expected end
Apr 24, 2017
The Minnesota Wild’s season came to a sad, but to a Minnesotan, expected end.
After the Wild showed so much promise this season in going far in the playoffs, they got knocked out in the first round by the St. Louis Blues.
Seeing the Wild’s season end so early in the playoffs is such a familiar site for me. In the past four years I have watched the Wild lose early in the playoffs. From 2013-2015 I watched them lose to the Chicago Blackhawks all three years and last year fall to the Dallas Stars.
I thought this could be our year to finally make something happen and give my generation our first championship within the major four sports.
The Wild had their best season in franchise history this year, breaking their record for points and wins. They finished with 49 wins and 106 points, their previous record was 104 points with 48 wins. Those previous records were set in the 2006-2007 season.
After Feb. it really looked like things were going well for the Wild. In March things started to take a turn for the worse, the Wild went 4-10-2, their worst month of the season.
This is nothing new for the Wild and as a fan, it’s starting to get very frustrating. Last year they had a two month drought during January and February where they went 8-15-4, not to mention ending the season on a five game losing streak. The year before that, the Wild went 9-11-5 in December and January.
The Wild were still able to finish in second place in the central division after a rough end of the season. Because of this terrible stretch, the Blackhawks were able to take first place in the conference with 109 points. Without their terrible end of season drought, the Wild have many good things to look back at in this season.
Earlier in the season, the Wild put together two phenomenal months. In December and January the Wild were 22-3-2 including a 12 game win streak that was ended by the Columbus Blue Jackets on New Year’s Eve who had a 14 game win streak.
That game on New Year’s Eve was one of the most exciting regular season games I have watched. It was the two hottest teams going at it on such an exciting day. The Wild fell and the Blue Jackets went on to win 16 straight before losing.
Seeing Devan Dubnyk, goalie, play so well during the regular season gave even more hope to the state of hockey of what could’ve been. The best feeling is being in that stadium and hear a loud “DUUUUUB!” go throughout the stadium after every save.
Dubnyk played some of his best hockey of his career. He played in 65 games this year and got 40 wins for the first time in his career. At one point in the later part of the season, Dubnyk was leading the league in wins, goals against average, and save percentage.
His play in the playoffs was something else. Even though the stats don’t seem bad, Dubnyk let in some rough goals that just ruin the momentum for the team.
His play wasn’t the only reason why they were out so early. It is hard to win games scoring one goal while in the playoffs and that was something that Wild couldn’t figure out how to get past.
The scoring was the biggest problem in the playoffs after being the second highest scoring team during the regular season. In the first three games of the playoffs, the Wild couldn’t score more than one goal.
Seeing the Wild go from one of the best teams in the NHL to how they finished the season was hard to accept.
The Wild made some moves in the season to help their chances in the playoffs. The Wild acquired Eric Staal at the beginning of the season and picked up Martin Hanzal and Ryan White towards the end.
I was really happy with the addition of Staal, he was a big asset to the success of the team this year. He played in 78 games and notched 60 points, 27 goals, which led the team, and 33 assists.
The addition of Hanzal and White was later in the season. They both played in 16 games and each had two goals. The only difference was the assists, White had one assist while Hanzal had 8.
I was excited about this transaction as well, getting these two players helped the Wild be a more physical team which is a big part of the game.
This season was the toughest one to come to an end for me because of how close we were to making it far. This season won’t change how much I love the Wild and I will continue to watch as many games as I can and being as big of a fan as I can.