t’s simple for the Minnesota Wild.
Win and stay home – at least for the start of the NHL playoffs.
The Wild, have the inside track to open the first-round series against the St. Louis Blues, and can earn it with at least three points over the final two games of the regular season. That includes on Thursday night against the Calgary Flames at the Xcel Energy Center.
Both the Wild and Blues enter Thursday with 109 points but don’t play until a matchup with Vegas on Friday.
Minnesota closes out the regular season with home game against the Colorado Avalanche. Both the Wild and Blues games have the same start time of 7 p.m. CST.
If the Wild beat the Flames, then they would just need a point or a Blues loss on Friday to clinch home ice.
The Wild lost an opportunity to make things easier on themselves with a home loss to Arizona on Tuesday, the same night the Blues lost to the Avalanche.
The loss snapped a 13-game point streak on home ice and a 10-game point streak overall. Minnesota entered the matchup having won 25 of the previous 33 matchups against the Coyotes.
Minnesota looks to rebound against a Calgary team that is far different from a Coyotes team that came into St. Paul on a 10-game losing streak.
Calgary, the Pacific Division champions, has won three straight and eight of the past 10 overall. Calgary has beat the Wild twice this season – 7-3 at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Feb. 26 and 5-1 in St. Paul on March 1.
Minnesota has a 24-16-9 all-time record against Calgary in St. Paul.
This marks the 14 th time that the Wild will play back-to-back games this season. Minnesota has posted a 10-1-2 mark in the first games and has swept six of the previous back-to-back dates.
Cam Talbot is expected to get the start in net.
WynnBET has Minnesota favored by 1.5 goals in its next-to-last game of the regular season. Minnesota also is the favorite on the moneyline at -130. The Flames are the underdog at +110 and the over/under for the matchup is listed at 6.5 goals.
Upcoming Wild schedule
Friday, April 29: Colorado, 7 p.m. CST
END OF REGULAR SEASON