With the odds stacked against them, the Minnesota Wild will take any edge they can get heading into their first-round playoff series with the Winnipeg Jets.
But while the stats skew heavily towards the Jets, the Wild have a clear advantage in at least one area.
Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise and Nino Niederrieter could challenge for Marian Gaborik’s franchise playoff scoring record this spring. Koivu is the first player in franchise history to reach 50 career playoff games in a Wild sweater, while seven players who should be in the lineup Wednesday night — Jared Spurgeon is a game-time decision — have more than 30 games of postseason experience with Minnesota.
Newcomer Eric Staal has 53 total postseason appearances under his belt after leading the Carolina Hurricanes to a Stanley Cup in 2006, while Matt Cullen, a teammate of Staal’s on that Hurricanes squad, is one of the league’s Stanley Cup elder statesmen. The 41-year-old has appeared in 123 playoff games and won it all three times, first with Carolina, then with the Pittsburgh Penguins in each of the last two seasons.
Parise went to the playoffs in six of his seven seasons with New Jersey, helping the Devils to the Stanley Cup Final in 2012, and has 94 career playoff appearances.
Meanwhile, the Jets haven’t had many opportunities to shine in the postseason. The current incarnation of the Jets — founded in 1999 as the Atlanta Thrashers — has never won a playoff game and has made just two postseason appearances all-time.
Winnipeg/Atlanta has gone winless in its first eight playoff games as a franchise, the longest such streak in NHL history. The Atlanta Flames (which later moved to Calgary and has no connection to the Thrashers), lost seven playoff games before winning their first, while the Columbus Blue Jackets lost five straight.
— Matt Dumba has stepped up in Ryan Suter’s absence. He has 12 points (4 goals, 8 assists) since March 16, second amongst all NHL defensemen.
— The Wild have a .756 winning percentage at home and a .476 winning percentage on the road, the second-largest such differential in the league.
— The Jets/Thrashers have historically wilted late in playoff games. They’ve scored just three third-period or overtime goals in their eight playoff games.