2000/01: After seven years of political squabbling, following the Northstars move to Dallas, on where to build an arena, and if Minnesota should take an existing team, or get an expansion team the NHL returns to the “State of Hockey,” home of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, as the Wild are one of two new teams, in the last of a four team expansion over three years. The Wild coached by Jacques Lemaire made debut on the road losing to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim 3-1 on October 6th as fast skating rookie Marian Gaborik scores the team’s first goal. Five days later the Wild would make their debut at the Xcel Energy Center skating to a 3-3 tie with the Philadelphia Flyers. A week later the Wild would get their first win as Gaborik scored twice in the 3rd period as the Wild beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-5 at home. Marian Gaborik would go on to lead the team in scoring with 18 goals and 18 assists as the Wild finished in last place in the Northwest Division with a typical expansion-like record of 25-39-13-5.
2001/02: The Wild would get off to a strong start by getting at least one point in their first seven games. However the Wild would come back to earth and would finish in last place again with a record of 26-35-12-9. However, along the way their were signs the Wild were improving as second year speedster Marion Gaborik had a solid season with 30 goals as Andrew Brunette led the team in scoring with 69 points.
2002/03: In their 3rd season the Wild would come flying out of the gate, as they posted an impressive record of 8-1-2-0 in October. The Wild would continue to play steady hockey all season as they made the playoff for the first time in franchise history with a solid record of 42-29-10-1 good enough for third place in the Northwest Division. Leading the way for the Wild would be Marian Gaborik who scored 30 goals again while the goalies Dewayne Roloson (2.00 GAA) and Manny Fernandez (2.24) both played solid when called upon. In the playoffs the Wild were heavy underdogs facing the Colorado Avalanche. However, the Wild got off to a great start taking Game 1 in Colorado. However, the Wild would struggle losing the next three games, as they were nearly held scoreless in Game 3 and Game 4 at home. However, the Wild would not give up as they took Game 5 by a score of 3-2 to keep their hopes of an upset alive. In Game 6 the Wild would have to overcome adversity again as the Avalanche scored twice in the final five minutes to force overtime. However, four minutes into overtime Richard Park sent the Xcel Energy Center into a frenzy by scoring his second goal as the Wild forced a seventh game. Playing just 24 hours later in Colorado the Wild completed the comeback as Andrew Brunette faked out Avalanche goalie Patrick Roy in overtime to give the Wild an improbable 3-2 win. In the second round the Wild would put themselves in a hole again falling behind three games to one against the Vancouver Canucks, losing two games in overtime that they had led late in the 3rd period. However, the Wild would rally again scoring 12 goals in two games to force a seventh game. In Game 7 the Wild would rally from a 2-0 deficit with four unanswered goals to advance to the Western Conference Finals, becoming the first team ever to overcome a 3-1 deficit twice in the same postseason. However, the Wild would not have any time to get ready for the Conference Finals as they played their fourth game in six days at home, losing in double overtime 1-0 to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. The Wild would not recover this time as they failed to score in the first three games as they were swept by the Ducks in four straight games.
2003/04: Coming off a trip to the Western Conference Finals there was an air of optimism. However as the season started the Wild were short-handed with Pascal Dupuis and Marian Gaborik holding out. After struggling in the first month the Wild finally got their two young stars signed but both struggled to get back into game shape as the Wild struggled through much of November. In a deep hole the Wild could not climb back into the playoffs despite finishing the season strong with wins in five of their last six games as they finished last in the competitive Northwest Division with a record of 30-29-20-3. Along the way the Wild began to gear up for the future trading away several of their older players that were apart of the franchise from the beginning including Brad Bombardir, and Jim Dowd.
2004/05: Season Cancelled Due to Lock Out
2005/06: Coming back from the Lock Out the Wild got off to a strong start winning five of their first seven games but quickly got swallowed up by the competition in the tough Northwest Division again as a mediocre November and December saw them land in the basement yet again as they never came close to the playoff picture again as they posted a record of 38-36-8. As the trade deadline approach the Wild were sellers trading Dwayne Roloson to the Edmonton Oilers, where he would become a playoff hero getting the Oilers to the Stanley Cup Finals. Despite the disappointing season the Wild saw team records set in goals by Marian Gaborik at 37 and points 79 by Brian Rolston.
2006/07: To improve on a lackluster offense the Wild signed veteran Free Agents, Kim Johnsson, Mark Parrish, and Keith Carney. On the day of the NHL Entry Draft, they traded the 17th overall pick and prospect Patrick O’Sullivan to the Los Angeles Kings for veteran Pavol Demitra. The moves paid dividends right away as the Wild came flying out of the gate, winning their first six games as they held a 10-2-0 record after their first dozen games. However, the Wild came back to earth a bit in November as they won just three of their next 14 games as they lost Marion Gaborik to a groin injury. The Wild would continue to play mediocre hockey until Gaborik returned in January, however at the same time they lost Manny Fernandez to sprained knee. Fortunately for the Wild they had a solid goalie Niklas Backstrom in the AHL with the Houston Aeros ready to make the leap to the NHL, and when he took over for Fernandez he proved to be even better, as he five shutouts in 36 shots, while leading the NHL in GAA and save percentage. Led by Backstrom, and a nine game winning streak in March the Wild were able to reach the playoffs for just the second time in franchise history with a record of 48-26-8. However, in the playoffs against the eventual Stanley Cup Champions Anaheim Ducks, the Wild were clearly overmatched losing the series in five games.
2007/08: With Niklas Backstrom firmly established as the starting goalie, the Wild entered the season hoping to build off their second playoff appearance, and in the early going they did just that, by posting a 7-0-1 record in their first eight games. While they could not keep up the pace of their good start, the Wild entered the New Year with a solid 22-15-2 record. In January the Wild continued to play well as they found themselves leading the Northwest Division. Despite playing only mediocre hockey over the final three months the Wild would win their first division title, posting a respectable 44-28-10 record. As they captured their first division title, the Wild had some individual accomplishments to be proud of as Marian Gaborik set a franchise record for goals with 42 and points at 83. On April 3rd as they clinched their division championship with a 3-1 victory over the Calgary Flames, Jacques Lemarie, the only coach the Wild had in their first eight years, won his 500th career game. In the playoffs the Wild were matched up against the Colorado Avalanche, who they battled all season for first place in the Northwest Division. However, they lost their home ice edge right away, losing Game 1 in overtime 3-2. In overtime again tied 2-2 in Game 2, the Wild would even the series on an unassisted goal by Keith Carney. Game 3 in Colorado would follow the same pattern, as the Wild and Avalanche went to overtime tied 2-2. This time the hero would be Pierre-Marc Bouchard who gave the Wild a 2-1 series lead. After getting blown out 5-1 in Game 4, the Wild faced a must win Game 5 at home. However, despite a pumped up crowd at the Xcel Energy Center the Wild would fall short losing 3-2, as the Avalanche broke open a tie game with two goals in 79 seconds in the third period. Facing elimination the Wild would throw all they had at the Avalanche with 35 shots on goal, but only one got past Jose Theodore, as the Wild were eliminated in the first round with a 2-1 loss in Game 6.
2008/09: Coming off their first division title, the Wild got off to a very good start, winning their first four games on the way to a 6-0-1 start. The Wild continued to play solid hockey through much of November as they entered December with a 14-7-1 record. However, an injury that limited Marian Gaborik off the ice began to take its toll on the Wild in December, as the team struggled, losing 10 of 13 games with one of the lowest scoring teams in the NHL. While Gaborik underwent hip surgery in January the Wild showed signs of improvement. Gaborik would return in March, but was far from 100% as the Wild fell just two points short of the playoffs with a record of 40-33-9. Following the season the Wild underwent wholesale changes, as their only General Manager Doug Risebrough was fired, while Coach Jacques Lemaire, who had been behind the bench for the Wild since Day 1 resigned. The changes would also hit the ice, as they were unable to re-sign All-Star Marian Gaborik, who signed a five year $37.5 million deal with the New York Rangers.
2009/10: In their tenth season the Wild had a new Coach, as Jacques Lemarie resigned and returned to coach the New Jersey Devils. The Wild also lost their top star Marian Gaborik to the New York Rangers. Left behind was a different looking Wild team coached by Todd Richards. For the first time the Wild had a full-time captain as Mikko Koviu was selected to wear the C, after Lemaire’s policy of rotating different captains throughout the season. Under Richards the Wild would get off to a slow start, losing nine of their first 12 games. As November turned into December, the Wild began to show signs of improvement as they won seven out of eight games to get their record above .500 at 15-13-3. However, every time they started to get going they would suffer a losing streak. At the Olympic Break the Wild held a record of 30-27-4, but the Wild decided to be sellers at the trade deadline sending Kim Johnsson and Nick Leddy to the Chicago Blackhawks for Cam Baker, while Eric Belanger was sent to the Washington Capitals for a second round draft pick. The Wild would remain on the fringe of the playoff chase all season, missing the postseason for a second straight season with a record of 38-36-8.
2010/11: After two straight seasons without the playoffs, the Wild started the season with a two game series in Helsinki against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Wild would only come home with one point after a 4-3 loss and a 2-1 shoot out loss. The Wild would earn their first win in their home opener against the Edmonton Oilers, winning the game 4-2 as they skated at .500 all month. The Wild would get off to a good start in November, winning six of eight games, but they returned to mediocrity, losing six of their next seven. Afterward the Wild again won six of eight as they yo-yoed up and down into the New Year with a record of 17-15-5. The Wild would have as strong month in January, as they won six of eight on the road, while posting an over record of 8-4 to play themselves into the playoff race. They continued to play well in February winning eight games again, this time playing strong at home. However, a costly eight game losing streak in March would ultimately end their playoff hopes, as went on to finish the season with a record 39-35-8, as their continued lack of scoring, ranking last in the NHL with 205 goals was once again their down fall. Following the season, Coach Todd Richards was relieved of his job, with Houston Aeros Coach Mike Yeo replacing him.
2011/12: During the off-season, the Wild looked for more offense, as they made a pair of deals with the San Jose Sharks. Devin Setoguchi, Charlie Coyle and Dany Heatley, while sending Brent Burns and Martin Havlat in return. The Wild started the season on a positive note, beating the Columbus Blue Jackets in their season opener 4-2 under new Coach Mike Yeo. Powered by a strong November, the Wild were sitting atop the NHL early in the season, as they held a 20-7-3 record on December 10th. However, several key injuries would send the Wild into a month long slump that sent them into a tailspin as they won just two of their next 17 games. The Wild continued to struggle in February as they won just four games, dropping them out of the playoff race. The Wild would go on to finish the season with a record of 35-36-11, as they finished in fourth place in the Northwest Division, missing the playoffs for the fourth straight year. Following the season the Wild made a big splash singing All-Stars Ryan Suter of the Nashville Predators and Zach Parise of the New Jersey Devils, both of whom were born and raised in the State of Hockey and considered to be the two best players ion the market.
2012/13: The excitement from the signings of Ryan Suter and Zach Parise would on hold as the start of the season was delayed by lockout that delayed the start of the season until January. The season finally began on January 19th, as the Wild beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-2 at the Xcel Energy Center, while all eye were on Suter and Parise, Dany Heatley stole the show with two goals. The next night the Wild would win 1-0 as Josh Harding stopped all 24 shots. During the lockout Harding was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Harding would play just five games in the regular season but he would go on to win the Bill Masterson trophy for dedication to the sport of hockey. The Wild had their struggles in the early part of the season, as they posted a 10-7-2 record during the season’s first six weeks as the lack of a pre-season hurt the team’s ability to work in their two new star players. However, by March they found their game as they won 11 of 15 games, including a seven game winning streak to get themselves into position to make the playoffs. April would not as well for the Wild, as they started the month winning just one of their first seven games. The Wild would just barely hang on to their playoff spot, posting a record of 26-19-3 to grab the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference playoffs. Zach Parise would lead the team in scoring with 38 points and a team high 18 goals, while Ryan Suter led the team in assists with 28.
2013 Playoffs: In the playoffs the Wild had their work cut out for them as they faced the President’s Trophy winning Chicago Blackhawks. With Josh Harding starting in goal, the Wild took the Blackhawks to overtime in Game 1, but despite Harding stopping 35 shots the Blackhawks took the opener 2-1 on a goal by Bryan Bickell. After losing 5-2 in Game 2, the Wild again took the Blackhawks to overtime as the series shifted to Minnesota for Game 3. This time it would be the Wild winning the game 3-2 on a goal by Jason Zucker. However, the Blackhawks proved to be too strong for the Wild as they won the next two games 3-0 and 5-1 on the way to winning the series in five games. The Chicago Blackhawks would go on to win the Stanley Cup.
2013/14: Facing a tough early schedule the Wild struggled early, going winless in their first three games. With Josh Harding starting a bulk of the time in goal, the Wild were able to somewhat salvage October and posted a record of 6-4-3. Harding continued to play well as the Wild won nine of their first 11 games in November. However, December would be a painful month for the Wild, as they won just five games, and went into the New Year on a six game losing streak. Making matters worse they were forced to shut down Goalie Josh Harding, who at the time had the best save percentage and goals against average in the NHL, due to complications to his Multiple Sclerosis. Shortly thereafter, the Wild would also lose Niklas Backstrom to an abdominal injury, as the Wild ended up starting five different goalies, with a total of seven dressing in pads during the season. Despite the goaltending issues, the Wild remained in the race and went into the Olympic Break with four straight wins, posting a pre Sochi record of 33-21-7. When the season resumed, the Wild were busy at the trade deadline, picking up Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov from the Edmonton Oilers for a fourth round draft pick. They also acquired Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Torrey Mitchell and two picks. Despite a mediocre March the Wild were able to get one of the two Western Conference Wild Card spots as they finished the season with a record of 43-27-12. Jason Pominville would lead the Wild in scoring with 60 points, becoming the third player in team history to score 30 goals. Meanwhile, behind a team high 43 assists Mikko Koivu became the all-time franchise leader in scoring.
2014 Playoffs: In the first round the Wild would face the Central Division Champion Colorado Avalanche. The Wild got off to a good start in Game 1, jumping out to a 4-2 lead. However, the Wild would allow two goals in the third period as Paul Stastny tied the game with 14 seconds remaining. In overtime Stastny would strike again, delivering a 5-4 win for the Avalanche. The Avalanche would also take Game 2, winning 4-2 as Ilya Bryzgalov was benched in favor of Darcy Kuemper. As the series shifted to St. Paul, Kuemper got his first career playoff start and benefited from a big defensive effort, facing just 22 shots as the Wild won an overtime thriller 1-0 on a goal by Mikael Granlund. The Wild defense would be even more smothering in Game 4, allowing just 12 shots on goal as the Wild evened the series with a 2-1 win. Back in Denver for Game 5, the Avalanche would break the Wild press and rally to force overtime on a late goal by P.A. Parenteau. The Avs would go on to win the game 4-3 on a goal by Nathan MacKinnon. The Wild would answer back with a 5-2 win in Game 6, as Zach Parise broke a 2-2 tie with 6:29 left, as Jason Pominville and Marco Scandella added empty net goals to force a seventh game. In Game 7 at the Pepsi Center, the Wild showed their resiliency as they rallied four times, after the Avalanche took a one goal lead. After Jared Spurgeon sent the game to overtime, the Wild were forced to turn their fate over to Ilya Bryzgalov after Darcy Keuemper suffered an injury at the end of regulation. Bryzgalov would make one big save in overtime, as Nino Niederreiter won it for the Wild with his second goal of the game. Appropriately enough the Minnesota Wild were the only team of four Wild Card teams to advance. The Wild would advance to the Central Division against the reigning Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks who eliminated them from the playoffs a year earlier. Game 1 would be a struggle for the Wild as they were dominated in a 5-2 win for Chicago. Game 2 would not be much better as the Blackhawks won the game 4-2. However, as the series shifted to the Xcel Energy Center, the Minnesota defense came up big again, allowing just 19 shots as the Wild with four goals in the third period won the game 4-0. The Wild defense continued to slow down the Blackhawks attack in Game 4, as Ilya Bryzgalov faced just 20 shots, as the Wild evened the series with a 4-2 win. The Wild continued to pester the Blackhawks in Game 5 at the United Center, taking an early 1-0 lead. However, the reign champs rallied and won the game 2-1 to take back control of the series. Game 6 in St. Paul would be a defensive struggle, as each team scored just once in 60 minutes of play. In overtime, the Blackhawks would end the Wild season with a goal by Patrick Kane.
2014/15: The Minnesota Wild added some offensive punch, signing Thomas Vanek in the off-season after reaching the second round of the playoffs. The Wild got off to a strong start, blanking the Colorado Avalanche 5-0 in the season opener. Early in the season Darcy Kuemper saw a bulk of action in goal for the Wild, as they won seven of their first ten games. However, Kuemper would falter in November as the Wild suffered a four game losing streak. Finding consistent goal tending would be an issue for most of the season as Kuemper and Niklas Backstrom failed to impress. Following an ugly 7-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on January 13th, the Wild sitting at 18-19-5 acquired Devan Dubnyk from the Arizona Coyotes. In his first game with Minnesota, Dubnyk was perfect, not allowing a goal as the Wild blanked the Buffalo Sabres 7-0. Dubnyk would soon set a franchise record with 38 straight starts following his acquisition, posting a 27-9-2 with a 1.78 GAA and save percentage of .936 with five shutouts. Thanks to Devan Dubnyk, the Wild went from eight points out of the playoffs to a wild card, as he was a finalist for Vezina Trophy as the league’s best Goaltender, while winning the Bill Masterson Award for dedication. In another late season deal the Wild picked up defenseman Jordan Leopold from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Leopold was sent to Columbus earlier in the season from the St. Louis Blues. After the trade as the deadline approached, Leopold’s 11-year-old daughter, Jordyn asked the Wild to acquire the Minnesota native to be closer to his family.
2015 Playoffs: In the playoffs the Wild would face the St. Louis Blues. Game 1 would go in favor of the Wild, as Jason Zucker and Matt Dumba scored to give them a 2-0. The Wild would later get empty net goals from Mikael Granlund and Jason Pominville to win the game 4-2. After the Blues bounced back with a 4-1 win in Game 2, the Wild would get a superior defensive effort as the series shifted to the Xcel Energy Center, allowing just 17 shutouts as Devan Dubnyk back stopped a 3-0 shutout win. Following a 6-1 letdown in Game 4, the Wild came up with another big win in St. Louis, taking Game 5 by a score of 4-1 as Dubnyk erased a bad performance in Game 4 to make 36 of 37 saves to put the Wild one win away from upsetting the Central Division Champions. With Dubnyk making 30 saves and Zach Parise netting two goals the Wild would win the series in five games, taking the finale 4-1. The Wild would again move on to face the Chicago Blackhawks. The Wild would start off slowly in Game 1, allowing three first period goals. The Wild would make a late surge but came up just short, losing the game 4-3. The Blackhawks would also prove to be too strong in Game 2, winning 4-1 as Patrick Kane scored twice. Kane netted an early Power Play goal in Game 3, as the Wild had their strongest game of the series. Unfortunately they could not get anything past Corey Crawford and lost 1-0. The Blackhawks would go on to complete the sweep with a 4-3 win in Game 4.
2015/16: The Minnesota Wild came into the season looking to build off a trip to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Things looked promising early as the Wild won their first three games and posted a solid 7-2-2 mark in October. The Wild were especially strong at home, winning all five games at the Xcel Energy Center. After a mediocre November, the Wild got back on the winning track in December as they ran off a string of 6-0-3 as they went into the New Year holding a record of 20-10-6. Minnesota continued to play strong hockey as January began as they were holding a 22-11-8 record on January 9th at the season’s exact midway the best 41-game record in Wild history. Then suddenly the Wild went on one of the worst stretches in franchise history as they lost 13 of their next 14 games. Following a 4-2 loss to the Boston Bruins on February 13th, Mike Yeo would be relieved of his coaching duties. John Torchetti would run the team behind the bench on an interim basis for the remainder of the season. Under Torchetti the Wild won all three games of a Western Canada road trip before their Stadium Series matchup at TCF Bank Stadium against the Chicago Blackhawks. With 50,426 fans on hand, the Wild dominated the game beating the Blackhawks 6-1, with six different goal scorers. The Wild continued their solid play in March as they won ten games, highlighted by a six game winning streak. The strong March would be enough to get the Wild the last playoff spot in the West, despite losses in their final five games as they posted a record of 38-33-11. Mikko Koivu was the leading scorer for the Wild with 56 points, as Zach Parise had a team best 25 points.
2016 Playoffs: In the playoffs the Minnesota Wild would face the Dallas Stars. It marked the first time that Minnesota’s present team faced the team that once was called the Minnesota North Stars in the postseason. The Wild late season slump continued in the playoffs as they lost the opener 4-0. The Wild played better in Game 2, as Marco Scandella broke Minnesota’s scorless drough with a goal with just over seven minutes left in the third period. The Stars though would win the game 2-1. As the series shifted to St. Paul, the Wild broke through and won 5-3 as a strong defensive effort limited Dallas to 17 shots. The Stars would strike back in Game 4, winning 3-2 to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. With their season on the brink the Wild got a game tying goal from Mikko Koivu with 3:09 left in the third period to force overtime. Koivu would provide more heroics in overtime scoring at 4:55 to give the Wild a dramatic 5-4 win. However, back at the Xcel Energy Center it was Dallas who had all the juice leapibng to a 4-0 lead after two periods. The Wild made a late charge but it was not enough as the Stars won the game 5-4 to advance to the second round. After the season John Torchetti would not remain the permanent coach for the Minnesota Wild.
2016/17: With new coach Bruce Boudreau, the Minnesota Wild looked to get off to a fast start. Despite opening the season with a 3-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues, the Wild achieved their early goals, posting a record of 6-2-1. The Wild was especially strong at home, winning their first four games at the Xcel Energy Center. After a rough November, the Wild posted the greatest month in franchise history, going 12-1-1 in December. The Wild started the month with a 3-2 shootout loss on the road against the Calgary Flames and ended the month with a 4-2 loss to the equally streaking Columbus Blue Jackets. In between the Wild won a team record 12 straight to head into the New Year with a record of 23-9-4. The Wild continued their strong play in January as they were among the best teams in the NHL after winning another ten games. The Wild continued to lead the Central Division through February, but March saw them go on a prolonged slump, as they went 4-10-2. The Wild would recover in the final week, winning their final four games to finish with a record of 49-25-8. Minnesota’s March slump cost them a chance to win the Central Division as they finished in second place. Mikael Granlund who had a breakout season was the leading scorer for the Wild, finishing with 69 points, while Eric Staal, their big off-season free agent led Minnesota with 28 goals.
2017 Playoffs: In the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs the Minnesota Wild were matched up against the St. Louis Blues, who in the middle of the season made a coaching chance hiring former Wild coach Mike Yeo. The opener would bring nothing but frustration for the Wild, who controlled the puck most of the night but had trouble getting the puck past Blues goalie Jake Allen. The Wild would get the game to overtime with a late goal by Zach Parise, but in overtime, the Blues recorded a 2-1 win on a goal by Joel Edmundson as Minnesota managed just one goal on 52 shots. Game 2, would go no better for the Wild as the Blues won 2-1, with Jaden Schwartz scoring the game-winning with 2:27 left in regulation. As the series shifted to St. Louis, the Blues continued to confound the Wild, winning 3-1 to take a 3-0 series lead, as Allen had 40 saves. The Wild got a big game from Devan Dubnyk who stopped 28 shots in a 2-0 win to avert a sweep. The Blues though would win the series in five games, recording a 4-3 overtime win in the finale at the Xcel Energy Center.
©MMXVIII Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the National Hockey League. This site is not affiliated with the Minnesota Wild or the NHL. This site is maintained for research purposes only.
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Page created on Page created on June 22, 2003. Last updated on April 16, 2018 at 10:50 pm ET.