For the Minnesota Wild right now, there truly is no place like home.
Happy to be back at the Xcel Energy Center after having their road losing streak reach a franchise-record 10 games, the Wild try to regroup at home, where they play the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday in a bid for their sixth consecutive home win.
The Wild (18-17-2) are 14-3-1 at home, outscoring opponents 58-38. But they are a woeful 4-14-1 on the road, getting outscored 64-44. They have been outscored 64-44.
Minnesota owns an 8-2-1 all-time home mark against Columbus, including a 5-0 rout on Oct. 14.
They dropped their 10th consecutive road game 3-1 at Detroit on Wednesday, falling behind just 16 seconds into the contest on a goal by Kirk Maltby.
"It was a big thing to do to try and come back from that start," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said.
Minnesota's leading scorer - Brian Rolston - was held without a point Wednesday and should welcome the homestand. The All-Star has scored 22 of his 31 points at home.
Goaltender Manny Fernandez has won his last five home starts with a 2.29 goals-against average, improving his record to 11-3 with a 2.25 goals-against average and one shutout there. On the road, he is 3-10-0 with a 3.48 GAA in 14 games.
This is the second of three five-game homestands for Minnesota. The Wild swept the first one to start the season from Oct. 5-14 and their last five-game run at Xcel Energy Center comes from March 20-29, 2007.
The Wild hope to capitalize on the extended run at Minnesota to make some headway in the tightly packed Northwest Division. Minnesota is tied with Calgary, Colorado, Edmonton and Minnesota for second in the division with 38 points, one behind frontrunning Vancouver.
The Blue Jackets (14-20-3) have rotated wins and losses over the last seven games. They overcame a three-goal second-period deficit against Detroit on Thursday to take a one-goal lead, but allowed four unanswered goals in the final 8:36 to lose 7-4.
"We work that hard to come back from a deficit we have to find a way to win the game," Blue Jackets defenseman Adam Foote said.
David Vyborny scored his 100th career goal and added an assist in the loss to give him five points in the last two games. His 100 goals are second in team history to Rick Nash, who has 102.
The Jackets' all-time leading scorer with 260 points, Vyborny has 11 points in 21 games against the Wild. However, he failed to register a point in the last meeting - a 5-3 win by the Blue Jackets on Nov. 25.
Columbus learned it will be without goaltender Pascal Leclaire for six weeks after he underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Thursday.
Leclaire, who is 6-12-2 with a 2.97 GAA in 21 games this season, sustained a hamstring injury Friday against Vancouver after missing the previous five games with a sprained knee. The team placed Leclaire on injured reserve and recalled goalie Ty Conklin from Syracuse of the AHL.
With Leclaire sidelined, Fredrik Norrena will start the bulk of Columbus' games. Tonight Conklin will make his first start for the Blue Jackets.
-- Associated Press