Despite record, Minnesota Wild having issues on home ice

Final
San Jose Sharks
4
Minnesota Wild
1

The Minnesota Wild returned back to St. Paul on Tuesday night having won two of three games on a road trip over the past week.

And with five victories in the past six games overall and sole possession of first in the Central Division standings, it seemed like that momentum would be carried into the matchup with the San Jose Sharks.

Right?

Maybe not so much

Mario Ferraro and Timo Meier scored as the Sharks led 2-0 after the first period on the way to a 4-1 win over a Wild team that just looked flat through the majority of the game.

“”You lose 4-1 there’s not a lot of guys who played well,” Wild coach Dean Evason said during a postgame media conference. “You can go  right through the roster, obviously, and you can pick and choose. But on the whole, we did not have a good night.

“We didn’t have enough in this game,” Evason said. “We thought, ‘OK’ our start was fine but we didn’t have enough in this hockey game

True, the loss was only the second for the Wild at the Xcel Energy Center in six games this season but it continued a trend of opponents seemingly making themselves at home on the road.

The Wild have trailed by at least a goal in all six games and surrendered the first goal in five of them. San Jose is the second team to have a multi-goal lead after the first period. Nashville jumped out to a 3-0 lead in an eventual 5-2 victory on Oct. 24.

“Obviously a start’s not good when you get down 2-0 but we thought we did a lot of really good things (against San Jose),” Evason said. “They really pushed. They worked really hard and got a lot of pucks to the net. We didn’t get pucks through.

“Our offensive zone, we didn’t shoot pucks when we had opportunities and we didn’t get pucks through into areas that we normally do ,” Evason said. “It was obviously a frustrating night.”

The Wild’s social media team sent out a number of posts on Tuesday that referred to the team’s feelings on returning back to home ice and the atmosphere that was present in the Xcel Energy Center. Fans were credited with giving the team energy in making some pretty memorable comebacks over the first five games of the season that includes a wild win over the Winnipeg Jets on Oct. 19.

The Wild have traditionally been a team that responds to adversity at home and made a push in the second period to grab momentum briefly from the Sharks on Tuesday after a Joel Eriksson Ek goal and a power play opportunity.

However, too often the Wild find themselves in a situation where they have to respond at home. It has become a trend where teams have dictated the play at the start of the game.

Minnesota has also had a favorable respond to a loss or a rough game for the most part this season. They will get a chance to do that again in a matchup with the Dallas Stars on Thursday.

That is a home game as well. The hope is the Wild show that response early to set the tone, especially with the team facing a challenging weekend trip to the Sunshine State with games against Florida and Tampa Bay both looming.