Scouting the Enemy: Anaheim Ducks vs. Minnesota Wild

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Jan 28, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Minnesota Wild left wing Zach Parise (11) celebrates with Minnesota Wild defenseman Marco Scandella (6) and Minnesota Wild center Charlie Coyle (3) after scoring a goal against the Anaheim Ducks during the third period at the Honda Center. The Minnesota Wild defeated the Anaheim Ducks 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

4. Last season, the Wild surprised many with their first-round upset over the Central Division-winning Colorado Avalanche. The Wild then validated that win by going toe-to-toe with the Chicago Blackhawks before losing in six games. The Wild are currently tenth in the Western Conference, but they are just one point out of a playoff spot and have two games in hand to the 8th place Winnipeg Jets. What are the realistic expectations for the Wild this season?

Dustin: I don’t think that the Wild are going to win the division. It was a tough division before the Jets started to look good and Nashville took over. I think that they’re one of the top teams and have a bit of the LA Kings in them, in the sense that they’re a possession-driving team who don’t allow a lot of goals against. They aren’t going to win the Central but should be able to stick in playoff contention. It’s a formula that – optimistically – we’ve seen work in the playoffs. Making the playoffs is definitely an expectation, and from there, I think fans and the management in Minnesota really believe it’s a new season and that they can hang with anyone if they’re healthy.