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From the Rink: Wild aims to recapture road magic

Minnesota won five of seven games the last time it spent a significant chunk of time away from home

by Dan Myers @MNWildScribe / Wild.com

VANCOUVER -- The Wild hits the road for a three-game swing through Western Canada beginning tonight when it faces the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. 

Minnesota is in search of another winning road trip like it had the last time it spent extended time away from home, a trip that, like this one, began in Vancouver. 

While the Wild lost the game here, it won five of the final six games on that trip, vaulting itself up the Central Division standings. 

This time, the Wild is aiming to get a win out of the chute and start the trip off on the right note.

"We got into just playing the right way and we played the right way," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "Even that game in Vancouver, I thought we played a really good game for the most part. And once you got on a roll and really believed you were going to win, things started happening. Hopefully that will happen again."

Since that road trip, which concluded Nov. 11 in St. Louis, the Wild has played seven of its past nine games at Xcel Energy Center, a stretch where Minnesota has won just three times.

That could make it a good time to spend a few days on the road, where the team hopes it can build on arguably its best game during that stretch in a 5-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Despite the loss, Minnesota outshot Toronto 41-23 and significantly out-chanced the Maple Leafs, one of the top teams in the NHL. 

Toronto was assisted by a pair of goals that deflected into the Wild goal off defenseman Nick Seeler. 

"That was a good hockey game for us and the way we want to play," said Wild forward Matt Hendricks. "We dictated a lot of the play that night and a few bad bounces ... that's a part of the game, but at the end of the day, they're a great hockey team in Toronto and they won the game, but we put everything we could out there on the ice."

Ultimately, the Wild hopes it can find a way to copy that game plan against the Maple Leafs and replicate it on the road, a task that can sometimes be easier without the pressures of being at home. 

While the home crowd is certainly an advantage, in terms of keeping the game plan as simple as possible, doing it on the road can often be easier. 

"It can be. I don't know the reason why," Hendricks said. "You get on the road, you want to try and be comfortable. Whatever that is, being with your teammates at night, having dinner, going to bed early and feeling good when you get to the rink in the morning. All you're really thinking about is hockey, you're not chasing the kids around, you're just concentrating on hockey and focusing on the game plan."

Here are the projected lineups:

WILD 

Jason Zucker - Eric Staal - Mikael Granlund

Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Charlie Coyle

Jordan Greenway - Joel Eriksson Ek - Nino NIederreiter

Marcus Foligno - Eric Fehr - Matt Hendricks

Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin - Matt Dumba

Nick Seeler - Greg Pateryn

Devan Dubnyk

Alex Stalock


CANUCKS

Loui Eriksson - Bo Horvat - Sam Gagner

Markus Granlund - Elias Pettersson - Brock Boeser

Antoine Roussel - Adam Gaudette - Jake Virtanen

Tim Schaller - Jay Beagle - Josh Leivo

Alexander Edler - Chris Tanev

Ben Hutton - Erik Gudbranson

Derrick Pouliot - Chris Tanev

Anders Nilsson

Jacob Markstrom


Related:

Wild Warmup: Minnesota at Vancouver

Video: Wild looks to regroup on the road

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