Ah, yes. The heat of summer. Time to go back into the archives, and look at six Minnesota Wild games which really, well, precipitated last May's demise at the hands of the eventual champions, the Chicago Blackhawks.
This is the eighth version of the 'Six-Pack', and, as always, the upshot of all this is that Wild fans want the club to be that much better. They won't stand for the kind of hockey that these games purported to be played as...
1.) Oct. 27, 2014. NY Rangers 5, Minnesota Wild 4. This game could have been the Wild's to win; after all, the Wild built up a 3-0 lead heading into the third period at Madison Square Garden. Alas, the boys in the green breezers then decided, to take the rest of the night off. Rangers scored five times in the third period (a new Rangers record, BTW) to place defeat in the jaws of victory.
2.) Nov. 26, 2014. LA Kings 4, Wild 0. The day before Thanksgiving, the Los Angeles Kings came into the 'X', and literally carved up the Wild, like many of the angered patrons would do to turkeys the next day. The fact that this was a day before a major US holiday made it bad enough. The fact that it was a Western Conference opponent just made it that much worse.
3.) Dec. 20, 2014. Nashville 6, Wild 5 (OT). A game which should have never gone into overtime did, and when it did, the Predators walked away with two points, and the Wild were left floundering, and on the precipice of free-fall. The next game would be even worse.
4.) Dec. 23, 2014. Philadelphia 5, Wild 2. Nice say to say 'Happy Holidays' to your fan base, boys. Stink the joint out, then go on a 3-day break. This game was ugly and got worse as the night dragged on. The Flyers got revenge for the Wild's 3-2 win in Philly 5 weeks earlier. And how.
5.) Jan. 13, 2015. Pittsburgh 7, Wild 2. This one was over in the second period. No jump. No goaltending (was Niklas Backstrom injured in this game?). Definitely no offense. This Wild team was in free-fall by now, and ended the night in 12th -- TWELTH -- in the Western Conference. Afterwards, even Ryan Suter was sounding despondent. Something had to be done, and fast. Chuck Fletcher did, sending a 3rd-round draft pick to Arizona for Devan Dubnyk. And, from the ashes of this night from hell, the season would be eventually resurrected, only to come down to one game...
6.) April 6, 2015. Winnipeg 2, Wild 0. Had the Wild won this game, the first of their final back-to-back of the season, the Wild would have faced Nashville in the first round, while St. Louis and Chicago would have become first-round opponents. All I have to say is: "What might have been..."
Enjoy the rest of your summer. Let's meet up again soon.