Alexander Shun | @alexpshun
Digital Content Manager | KFAN.com
The Minnesota Wild will play their final home game of the regular season Tuesday night as they take on the Carolina Hurricanes, a team that is all but mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
The Wild are coming off a well-earned 5-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche and are looking to end their regular season home finale with another win, though it won't be easy against Carolina.
"They play hard and they believe," Wild Head Coach Bruce Boudreau said Tuesday morning after his team's practice. "They're still not eliminated so you know that they're going to want someone else to eliminate them and they're not only capable of playing great, they're as good as any team in the NHL right now. So it's going to be a really good test for us."
Carolina is coming off two hard losses against the Dallas Stars and Pittsburgh Penguins, respectively, and although their playoff chances are quite slim, one can be assured that they will continue to fight until the end of the season, regardless of their potential postseason outcome.
"We're still fighting trying to get every point possible," Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk said Sunday after a tough 3-2 loss to the Penguins. "We're still trying to play our game."
Hurricanes Head Coach Bill Peters echoed such sentiments.
"Guys played hard, and they've been playing hard for a long time," Peters said. "That won't change moving forward."
The last time these two teams met was back in mid-March in Raleigh and the Hurricanes claimed victory, winning 3-1 and sending Minnesota to their then third-straight loss. Tuesday night the Wild will look to flip the script and send Carolina to their third-straight loss and, in doing so, maintain their grasp on the second spot in the Western Conference.
With the Chicago Blackhawks having locked up the top spot in the West, the Wild will be fighting to stay in second place as the Anaheim Ducks have moved just a single point behind and they are followed closely by the Edmonton Oilers.
Despite having won just five of their last 18 games, Wild players know that, with three games remaining on their regular season schedule, they have a chance to not only hold that second slot but to gain some much-needed momentum heading into the postseason.
"Our job is to get a winning feeling going into the Playoffs and solidify how we've played for 90 percent of the year," Devan Dubnyk said. "There are still three games and that's three opportunities for two points and that's just how we have to look at it."
The puck drops tonight at 7:08 P.M. CST and can be heard on KFAN 100.3 FM.