No matter where he's been this season, Adam Gilmour has been involved in a playoff race.
The second-year forward has spent most of the year with the Iowa Wild, but has split the last month between the Wild and the Quad-City Mallards. He's enjoyed contributing to the Mallards' playoff fates, averaging nearly a point per game with the team.
Even when he's not scoring, Gilmour is contributing, winning a key face-off to set up Sam Warning's overtime winner Sunday against the Wichita Thunder.
"Guys are firing on all cylinders here," Gilmour said.
It's been a year of success for the Minnesota Wild organization. The NHL team had 95 points heading into Tuesday's matchup with Washington and is bound for the playoffs, while the Mallards are enjoying their best ECHL season. The Mallards have won more games this season than in their last two years in the ECHL, and have won their most games since going 41-27-8 in 2006.
Though losers of four straight prior to Tuesday's game against Rockford, the Iowa Wild have been in a battle for a playoff spot all season, a change of pace from the team's first three seasons in Des Moines, when the Wild finished in last place in the division.
Prior to Tuesday's game, Iowa was in sixth place, two points out of a playoff spot but if the AHL Wild can make a run and clinch a playoff berth, Minnesota will have all three affiliates in the playoffs for the first time since 2013, when the Wild's affiliates were the Houston Aeros.
"This is the closest they've been which has created a lot of buzz there which was exciting to be a part of," Gilmour said. "Here, the fans are great, it's a lot of fun to be here. They're passionate, same with Iowa and Minnesota. It's a lot of fun because they take it seriously and they've invested a lot of time and money in players to bring wins to the cities that they're in and it's showing now."
Though the Mallards are firmly in a playoff spot, there are still things to work on. They played one of their best games of the season in a 4-3 overtime win over potential playoff foe Fort Wayne, but then followed that with something of a snoozer in a 2-1 overtime win over cellar-dwelling Wichita on Sunday.
With five games left before the playoffs begin, the Mallards are trying to find that fine balance between staying healthy and staying in playoff form with the regular season winding down.
"We created habits throughout the whole season and I think they've been good habits," Warning said. "Showing up every day and giving it everything you got. You might be injured, you might be sick but you have to fight through that and keep playing and right now we're looking pretty good. It's a lot of fun."
Being part of that playoff atmosphere the whole season has been beneficial to Gilmour's ability to adjust no matter where he's played this year.
"You have to play like you're in the playoffs because that's building and improving on habits you're going to have to have in the playoffs to be successful," Gilmour said. "If we have a gameplan, we have to execute it. It doesn't matter if we're playing the worst team in the league or the best team in the league, we still have to do the same thing.
"Ultimately, if you do that, play well, like you're supposed to, you're going to win."
Lang to Iowa: Forward Chase Lang was recalled Tuesday from the Mallards to the Iowa Wild. Lang has scored four goals and added two assists in 12 games with the Mallards this season. He has played just one game with the Iowa Wild this season.
Players of the week: Kalamazoo Wings forward Josh Pitt was named the Sher-Wood Hockey player of the week after scoring four goals and adding four assists in three games last week.
Utah Grizzlies goaltender Ryan Faragher was named the CCM goaltender of the week after going 1-1-0 with a 2.05 goals against average and a .947 save percentage in three appearances last week.
Former Mallards involved in brawl: Former Quad-City Mallards Kevin Kerr and Glenn Detulleo were suspended indefinitely following a post-game fight Saturday in the Southern Professional Hockey League. Kerr is the head coach of the Macon Mayhem while Detulleo is the head coach of the Huntsville Havoc.
Kerr played for the Mallards from 1998-2000, scoring 81 goals and adding 85 assists along with 270 penalty minutes in 117 games. Detulleo played for the Mallards from 2005-07, scoring 19 goals and adding 64 assists with 92 penalty minutes in 88 games.
Both coaches as well as six players were suspended indefinitely following the incident.
Mallards milestone: Chris Francis scored his 100th career ECHL goal Wednesday against the Wichita Thunder.
This week: The Mallards host the Alaska Aces Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. The Kelly Cup will be at Friday's game available for public viewing.
The Mallards will also auction off their military-themed jerseys that have been worn primarily for warmups, as well as during Friday's game, following the game to benefit VFW Post 1303 in Rock Island.
These will be the last two regular season meetings ever between the Aces and Mallards, with Alaska ceasing operations at the end of the season. The Mallards are 2-0-0 all-time against the Aces.