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Road struggles part of problem for Wild

Wednesday, 09.29.2010 / 3:00 AM / 2010-2011 Season Preview

By John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

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Road struggles part of problem for Wild
The Wild were OK at home, but when they had to leave the comfy confines of Xcel Energy Center, it usually didn't end well.
The Wild were OK at home, but when they had to leave the comfy confines of Xcel Energy Center, it usually didn't end well.

Advantage Margin: +3
The Wild's struggles on the road were at least partly due to their inability to stay out of the penalty box. Minnesota allowed just 139 power plays at home, but surrendered 167 (and 31 goals) away from the Xcel Energy Center.

Special Teams Goal Margin: -3
The Wild had a top-10 power play (59 goals, 19.1 percent), but hurt themselves badly by allowing a League-high 13 shorthanded goals. No other team allowed more than nine -- the same number the Wild surrendered on the road alone.       

Goals by defensemen: 22
There was little offense from the blue line in Minnesota, where Marek Zidlicky and Kim Johnsson (traded to Chicago at the deadline) led the Wild with just 6 goals apiece.

Overtime Record
Total: 10-1-7
OT: 5-1 SO: 5-7
The Wild fared much better in games decided in overtime than when they went to a shootout -- especially at home. Minnesota was 3-0 in OT at the Xcel Energy Center, but just 3-4 in shootouts.

Times Scored First: 34 Record: 24-7-3
The Wild spent most of the season playing from behind. Minnesota matched Edmonton for the second-lowest number of first goals, but was much more effective in turning those goals into victories at home (15-1-2) than on the road (9-6-1).

Best 2009-10 Number: 10-6-0
Minnesota's won-lost record in December, the only month the Wild won more than half of its games. It also was the only month they won more than seven times.       

Worst 2009-10 Number: 6-14
Minnesota's record in games decided by three or more goals. The Wild's .300 winning percentage in blowouts was worse than every team other than the Edmonton Oilers (.250).
   
Scheduling
Minnesota starts the season with a pair of games against Carolina in Helsinki, Finland, but then plays eight of its next 10 at home. The Wild have no road trip longer than four games (but there's one each in November, December, January and March), and they end the season with three of four on the road after a stretch of six in seven at home.
Quote of the Day

It's time we got a break. People that have watched us, I'm sure they said, 'Finally, some things are going our way.' We'll take the breaks when they go our way.

— Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien after a 3-2 overtime win against the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday to snap a three-game losing streak
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