Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 4/24/13
ST. PAUL, Minn. The Minnesota Wild took care of their end of the deal Tuesday night by beating the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings in a hard-fought game. Now, the Western Conference could help Minnesota secure its first playoff berth in five years before the Wild even play again. Minnesota, after Tuesday's 2-1 win, holds the seventh spot in the West with 53 points and is two points ahead of the eighth-place Columbus Blue Jackets and three ahead of the ninth-place Detroit Red Wings. The Wild host 13th-place Edmonton on Friday night and then finish the season at 15th-place Colorado on Saturday. The Dallas Stars' late loss Tuesday night in San Jose further focused the playoff picture. However, those games might mean little by the time Minnesota returns to the ice. By virtue of remaining points possible, the Wild will clinch a playoff berth Thursday if Columbus (51 points) loses at Dallas (48), which is fighting for its own playoff life in 10th place. The Vancouver Canucks (59 points) have already clinched the Northwest Division and hold a six-point advantage over Minnesota. The Wild could climb as high as fifth place, surpassing either Los Angeles or San Jose (57), and St. Louis (56), but are more likely to finish seventh, which would mean a first-round playoff matchup with the Anaheim Ducks (64). Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.
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