MONTREAL – As the Minnesota Wild looks to strike the right chord when it's playing at Xcel Energy Center, it has become increasingly clear how paramount the Wild's success in visiting buildings is to its postseason aspirations.
The Wild woke up on Sunday back in possession of the second wild card spot into the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs after defeating the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 Saturday night at Bell Centre.
It was Minnesota's latest victory on the road, its third straight, and its sixth in eight games under interim Head Coach John Torchetti.
"As far as better on the road, I don't know why we're better on the road than home," said Devan Dubnyk, who recorded 30 saves against the Canadiens. "The way we play on the road, we're not trying to impress anybody. We play hard defense and we get big goals from guys at the right time."
It's a familiar script for the Wild, who parlayed an efficient stretch run on the road a season ago into a postseason berth.
The Wild went 16-2-2 over its final 20 road games last season, which included a 12-game winning streak, snapped on the final day of the regular season after Minnesota had already punched its postseason ticket.
"That's what we did last year, and what we're starting to do this year," Dubnyk said. "We have to obviously get back to doing it at home and on the road."
Other player's explanation and analysis of the Wild's home-road splits rings similar to Dubnyk's. There's nothing too fancy to what fuels Minnesota's effectiveness in games played outside of Saint Paul, because it's a matter of simplicity.
"Everyone was committed to playing a good road game, and not trying to look for the pretty play," Torchetti said.
Counting the final two games of its current road trip, the Wild has six road games remaining on its schedule.
"It's just keeping the game simple," Torchetti said. "Just like we talked about this morning, and the other day prior, and now we have to take that, we're still on the road here for a little bit, but we have to take that game home with us, too."
Minnesota's latest road victory moved it above .500 on the road for the season, at 15-14-6. With a possible 12 points on the table in visiting arenas from here through the end of the regular season, keeping the trend going in its current direction will only boost the Wild's playoff hopes.
"It's tough to pinpoint one thing," Dubynk said of Minnesota's road performances versus its ones at home. "Obviously it was the opposite at the start of the year. We play simple on the road, and we get a lot of pucks toward the net, which is an important thing.
"We love playing at home, and we always want to put on a good show for our fans, and I don’t know if right now that affects the way things are going, but we'll get back to what we're doing on the road, and we'll make sure we continue that going home."