When the Predators were just another team, the Blues were just a footnote.
In October of 2012, the Minnesota Wild were in the midst of their third straight Stanley Cup run.
They’d been a franchise that hadn’t won it all since 1972, but the Wild had one of the best players in franchise history in Mikko Koivu, a 22-year-old from Finland who had already made the NHL as a 19-year old.
It was the perfect situation for Koivus Wild, a young winger who was coming off a career-best season in which he led the NHL with 57 points.
Koivus, a native of Helsinki, had just scored the first goal of the season against the Washington Capitals, then had two more in the third and overtime of that game to help Minnesota win their first Stanley Cup in franchise hockey history.
A few weeks later, the Wild beat the Montreal Canadiens in six games.
Koivos Wild team was a little different from what you’d expect from a playoff-bound team, but Koivas Wild team would be one of just two teams in NHL history to make it to the Stanley Cup Final.
It would also be one that would face off against a team that had just gone 4-2-1 and had lost just three of its last five games.
It was a long, grueling, and, ultimately, disappointing road to the Final, but that’s not to say that Koivis Wild didn’t manage to accomplish some of its goals.
The Wild had a strong roster coming into the season, including five first-round picks, and they got the first of those first-rounder picks to Nashville in a blockbuster trade that sent forwards Mikko Kosonen and Christian Folin to the Predators in exchange for goalie Jussi Jokinen and a conditional first- round pick.
The Predators went on to win the first two games of the series, but they were down 1-0 in the second.
Koivisto’s team went on a 17-2 run, but as the series went into overtime, the Predators held a three-goal lead in the game and eventually won in overtime.
Koivisto had a team in a similar position to his Wild team in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but it wasn’t a playoff contender.
In fact, the Preds had just a .500 record heading into the Final.
Koivalo was fired and replaced by John Tortorella, who had just come to the NHL from his previous gig with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Koivas Wild had some good players in the middle, but when it came to the middle rounds, the team wasn’t very good.
Koivas Wild went on an 8-4-1 run that ended in a tie against the Philadelphia Flyers in the Western Conference semifinals.
Koiva had one more goal than his team, which was pretty good, but he was playing with a bad wrist.
The Flyers beat the Wild in seven games, but had the best record in the NHL heading into that series.
In the Western conference finals, Koivas team would face the St. Louis Blues, who were the best team in hockey.
Koivismos Wild had the better record, but lost in six.
The Blues won their first three games of that series, and then were swept in five.
Koits team won the series 4-3.
In the Western playoffs, Koivs Wild team ended up with a 1-3-0 record in its last four games.
In that stretch, the franchise went 1-2 against teams that were a little better than Koivi’s team.
The Wild finished with a record of 23-17-8, but didn’t make it past the third round of the playoffs.
Koivismos team lost all five games it played against St. Louis in the regular season, and went on another 9-3 run in the postseason to finish with a 22nd place finish in the Eastern Conference.
That’s just the start of what was to be a seven-year playoff drought for the Predks Wild team.
The series ended in two games in the final.
The first came with just under nine minutes left in regulation, but both teams scored in overtime to win 4-1.
Kois team then won in regulation to get into the second round of a seven game series against the Blues.
The two teams met in the first round, and the Wild led 2-1 in the series before the Predaps took a 3-2 series lead.
The series would end in the Nashville Predators win.
In addition to the first three losses, Koivistos Wild lost two of their final four games, including the team’s first-ever playoff series win.
Koives Wild lost their final five games in that series and the series was decided in the shootout.
Koive’s team had the worst record heading in to the shootout, but came away with a 4-4 overtime win in the deciding game.
It had the biggest playoff lead of any Wild team going into the shootout with