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Minnesota strengthens hold on eighth place in West

Jan 25, 2012, 1:24 AM EDT

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As Joe pointed out Tuesday morning, the Minnesota Wild visited the Avalanche in Colorado in a match with implications for the West’s eight spot. The two struggling teams played a close game but Minnesota ending up widening its lead over Colorado with a 3-2 win.

Here’s the recap:

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Here are the highlights:

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Perhaps most importantly, this is what the playoff picture looks like as of this writing:

source:  (click to enlarge)

As of this moment, there’s a heated match between eight-place Minnesota and the next four teams as the Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Calgary Flames and Phoenix Coyotes are within shouting distance. One might argue that the surging Anaheim Ducks could get back in the picture too, although February might make that dream fade soon enough.

Either way, this win was important for the Wild because it keeps them just a stride or two ahead of the pack.

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