Minnesota Wild: The ultimate road warriors
The Minnesota Wild lead the NHL in a unique category in the past two seasons.
Since last year’s All-Star break, Minnesota leads the league with a +1.12 goal differential in road games. The Wild are the only team with a road goal differential greater than one goal per game and the second-best team in that category is the New York Rangers with a +0.94 differential.
It’s no wonder Minnesota has won three straight road games by at least two goals.
One reason why the Wild is on a mini hot streak is due to the play of Victor Rask. He recorded his first three-point outing in over four years in Minnesota’s 6-2 win over the San Jose Sharks and now has four goals in his last four games.
Rask’s linemate Mats Zuccarello matched his career-high four points against San Jose and is now in the most productive point run of his career. In the past three games, Zuccarello has seven points (two goals, five assists).
The Wild will probably need Zuccarello and Rask to play well on Wednesday night against the Colorado Avalanche because Minnesota is 7-0-0 since 2014-15 when it scores at least three goals against the Avalanche in Denver.
However, when the Wild score two goals or fewer in road games against Colorado in that span they are 0-6-1.
That probably means Minnesota will need to get out to a quick start against the Avalanche. A lead entering the first intermission will be crucial to both of these teams, since Minnesota is 0-3-0 when trailing after the first period and Colorado is 0-2-0 when it has been down after the first 20 minutes.
The Wild and Avalanche are two of five NHL teams that have not won a game after a first-period deficit. The other teams are the Vancouver Canucks (0-10-0), the San Jose Sharks (0-4-1) and the New Jersey Devils (0-3-1).
Statistics courtesy of Sportsradar.com