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Wild hoping its home-ice advantage can continue in playoffs

Minnesota wraps up home slate with its best points percentage in franchise history following sweep of Ducks

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe /

ST. PAUL -- With its home schedule now complete, the Wild has two games remaining to try and secure even more contests at Xcel Energy Center come playoff time.

Unfortunately for the Wild, all it can do is take care of its own business. The rest will be left to fate.

For a brief time on Saturday night, following a 4-3 overtime win against the Anaheim Ducks, Minnesota pulled into second place in the West Division, a spot that would guarantee the Wild home-ice advantage in Games 1 and 2 in a likely First Round series against the Colorado Avalanche.

Unfortunately for the Wild, whether home-ice advantage becomes a reality is out of its own hands. Colorado has a game in hand, and at the time of this writing, held a two-goal lead in Los Angeles, one that would move the Avs one point in front of the Wild in the standings.

Video: Players Postgame vs Anaheim

"Obviously we have a great record at home. We took care of business this weekend, gave ourselves a chance at home ice in the playoffs, and then see where the chips fall with Colorado's games moving forward," said Wild forward Nick Bonino. "But we'll just try to handle what we can and see if we have home ice, that's something we'd really like."

That's all it can do.

For now, the Wild will get some much-needed rest before one final back-to-back set to conclude the regular season schedule against the also playoff-bound St. Louis Blues on Wednesday and Thursday. 

If Minnesota can win those games, and get some help from the first-place Vegas Golden Knights on Monday, then the Kings in Denver on Wednesday and/or Thursday ... the Wild would have a chance to play early hosts at Xcel Energy Center, a place that's been incredibly generous to the Wild this season.

Video: ANA@MIN: Rask fires a shot into twine to win it in OT

Concluding the regular season with a 21-5-2 record in St. Paul, the Wild's .786 points percentage on home ice is the highest in the 20-year history of the franchise. It's just the third time Minnesota has finished the season with a points percentage north of 70 percent.

"There's multiple teams in this league where you go into their building, you know it's going to be a tough night and we want to be one of those teams where they come into the Xcel and they're expecting a long night," said Wild forward Ryan Hartman. "And we've been able to play really well at home. If that's just feeling comfortable or whatever it is, there's a little extra motivation to play well."

That comfort - or whatever it is - has shown up in the standings. Only Pittsburgh has more wins on home ice this season. And although a handful of teams will have home games remaining over the final week of the regular season in an effort to pass the Wild in that category, Minnesota will wrap up the campaign as one of the NHL's best clubs at home.

Video: Dean Evason postgame vs Anaheim

It's an advantage the team hopes it will have come next weekend and the start of yet another run at Lord Stanley's Cup.

"I think we're comfortable playing at home, being able to roll all of our lines, all the D, against anyone and having those matchups is key," said Wild captain Jared Spurgeon. "Whenever you're playing at home, you want to make sure you take care of business, and we've done that so far this year and we have to continue that going into playoffs."


Postgame Hat Trick: Wild 4, Ducks 3 (OT)

Video: Rask buries the overtime winner in a 4-3 victory

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