Monday, April 14, 2014

April Wrap-Up

A look back at the regular season's final month.

Team Record: 4-1-1 in April, 43-27-12 overall
Standings: 4th in Central Division, 7th in Western Conference

3 Stars

3. Jason Pominville (6 GP, 3 G, 4 A)
Pominville capped off his first full season in Minnesota by scoring three goals to give him 30 on the season. He became the first Wild player since 2007-08 (Marian Gaborik, Brian Rolston) to tally 30 goals in one season. He also paced the Wild with seven points in the six April games to help clinch a second consecutive playoff berth.

2. Erik Haula (6 GP, 3 G, 3 A)
After being so suddenly thrust into the second line center position, Erik Haula had himself quite the month. The rookie scored three goals and three assists in the month of April, while centering the second line with Matt Moulson and Jason Pominville. Haula played so well it has sparked a debate about whether or not to send him back to the fourth line when Mikael Granlund returns.

1. Ilya Bryzgalov (3-1-1, 2.07 GAA, .913 SV%, 2 SO)
Bryzgalov becomes the third different Wild goaltender to get the number one star of the month nod. In the five games played, Bryz notched a 2.07 GAA and .913 save percentage to get the Wild in the playoffs and into the top Wild Card spot. Before the final game of the year against Nashville, Bryz had not lost a game in regulation during his 12 appearances with the Wild.

Top 5 Plays

5. Erik Haula goal vs PIT (swats a bouncing puck home)

4. Jon Curry save vs STL (flashing the leather better than the Twins)

3. Zach Parise goal vs NSH (slick passing leads to an open net)

2. Ryan Suter goal vs BOS (clutch)

1. Ilya Bryzgalov save vs PIT (holy stick save, Batman!)

Best Game
In a game where the Wild needed one point to clinch a playoff spot, and two to clinch the top Wild Card spot, they gave perhaps their fullest 60 minute effort of the season against the Presidents Trophy winning Bruins. Ryan Suter scored the tying goal with 1:05 to go in the game to force overtime, and Mikko Koivu scored the lone shootout goal to give the Wild their second consecutive playoff berth, while clinching the number one Wild Card spot.

Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell

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