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Late home games could be boost for Wild

Wednesday, 09.28.2011 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 15

By John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

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Late home games could be boost for Wild
Advantage Margin: -16
In a season that saw the number of power plays decline, the Wild didn't help themselves by allowing two more advantages than they did in 2009-10 (308-306) while earning 17 fewer.

Special Teams Goal Margin: 0
What the Wild accomplished is a near-impossibility statistically: They scored and gave up exactly 53 power-play goals while scoring and allowing exactly seven shorthanded goals.

Goals by defensemen: 34
The Wild may scramble to find offense from the blue line this season after dealing Brent Burns to San Jose. Burns accounted for exactly half of the goals scored by Minnesota's defensemen and had 8 goals on the power play.

MINNESOTA WILD
2010-11 SEASON STATS

Category Rank (Conference)
2010-11 Points 86 (12th West/21st NHL)
Change from 2009-10 +2
Home Points 43 (12th West/26th NHL)
Road Points 43 (9th West/16th NHL)
Overtime Record
Total: 8-3-5 OT: 5-3 SO: 3-5

Niklas Backstrom has been a fine goalie throughout his NHL career, but he's never done well in shootouts. Backstrom was 1-4 and stopped just nine of 17 shots last season; he's 12-24 with a .581 career save percentage.

Times Scored First: 39
Record: 31-4-4

The Wild were third in the League in turning first goals into wins (.795) and were the only team not to lose a road game in regulation when they scored first, going 18-0-2.

Best 2010-11 Number: 51
Points earned by the Wild in the 26 games in which they led after two periods. Minnesota was 25-0-1 when taking a lead into the third period. In the past two seasons, the Wild are 46-1-3 in the 50 games in which they led through 40 minutes.

Worst 2010-11 Number: 27.6
Minnesota's average number of shots per game, the fewest in the NHL.

Scheduling
Minnesota has a chance to get off to a good start -- the Wild open with four games against non-playoff teams from last season. They have a six-game homestand following a five-game trip in November, but have no other trip longer than four games, just 10 back-to-backs and end with 10 of their last 14 at the Xcel Energy Center.
Quote of the Day

Just the feel for the direction they were headed and what they're trying to do, it just felt that this is a really good thing for this organization. They've got the pieces. We can put something together and go on a run or two and be together for a while, and I'm really excited about that opportunity. The team we have here has an opportunity to win, and that's the most attractive thing.

— Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen on why he decided to sign with the Capitals