The Stanley Cup playoffs are almost here. The Minnesota Wild are on pace to extend their playoff streak to six straight seasons, but things are heating up in the Western Conference playoff race. Check out our thoughts on the week ahead below, from first place in the Central Division through a few playoff hopefuls battling for the two wild-card spots. First, a reminder: The top three teams in each division make the playoffs, as well as two wild-card teams.
Ever since returning to Minnesota, Parise has always been the most important member of the Wild lineup. Mikko Koivu may be the captain, but the hometown kid Parise is going to be the game changer this season. He’s now had a couple of years to settle in with Mike Yeo and company and this is the year it needs to all come together.