Saturday, March 16, 2013

Road Points

Today, the Wild open up a 3 game road trip beginning in Colorado. They make a trip to playoff contenders Vancouver (3/18) and Detroit (3/20) to finish this short trip.

Luckily for the Wild, they do not have a road trip longer than 3 games this season. But unluckily for them, they have won just 4 out of 12 games on the road and have picked up points in just 5 out of those 12 road games.

As Minnesota makes its run at their first playoff appearance in 5 years, it is of the utmost importance that they begin picking up points on the road. There are only 5 teams in the West who have a winning record on the road so far this season. That honor belongs to Chicago, Anaheim, Vancouver, St. Louis, and Dallas. The first four teams occupy the top 4 spots in the West opening play today, with Dallas sitting in the 11th spot. So with seemingly all of the West still in the mix for a playoff spot (Columbus' charge has, yes, put them in contention for a playoff spot), those teams who can start picking up road points will seemingly get locked in for a spot in the big dance.

Remaining on their road schedule this year, the Wild have games with Calgary, Colorado (2 games), Columbus, Dallas (2), Detroit, Edmonton, Los Angeles, San Jose (2), and Vancouver. (BOLD denotes a team who sits in the top 8 of the West entering play today.) And as you can see, the Wild have a more favorable road schedule (Yes, more favorable).

The Wild have no problems picking up points at home, winning 10 of 14 and having earned points in 11 of 14 at Xcel Energy Center. And if they can continue their level of play that they showed on this most recent homestand (Dominating all 3 games against Vancouver, Anaheim, and Colorado, while winning 2 out of those games), this team will have no issues picking up wins and points on the road now.

This team has set themselves up to make the playoffs. With a good mix of veteran and young players, this is a team that should be able to lock in a playoff spot. And it will come down to how many points they can pick up on the road.

But as we all know, playing at home and playing on the road are two completely different things.

Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell

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