Somehow, someway, teams that have come off COVID-19 shutdowns the first five weeks of this erratic hockey season, including the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night, have largely been successful in their first game back.

That’s probably why the Wild were, surprisingly, betting favorites heading into Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings despite playing for the first time in 14 days.

But the smart money on this night would have been on the “underdog” Kings if you looked at how many players were still missing from Minnesota’s lineup, including five of the Wild’s top seven defensemen.

For anybody who has documented the one team outbreak that finally prompted the NHL and NHL Players’ Association to introduce a number of preventative measures and enhanced protocols that arguably should have been around from the start — like, for instance, same-day rapid testing, Minnesota’s convoluted-looking, sloppy 4-0…



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