The Wild has lost plenty of games in the 2016 calendar year, but it has also won in plenty of venues: 7 different sheets of ice, including a football stadium. But it has yet to win at Xcel Energy Center since the start of the new year. It’s been since a Dec. 28, 2015 victory over the Red Wings that the Wild won at the X.
The latest blemish came Tuesday when Minnesota, which had been steamrolling opponents since John Torchetti took over for Mike Yeo as coach, laid an egg in a 4-1 loss to the Islanders in St. Paul.
That was the latest in a stretch since the Detroit victory that has seen the Wild play 15 road games and just nine at home, including that one at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday win which the Wild drubbed Chicago 6-1.
Those other eight home games have been at Xcel Energy Center. And Minnesota has lost each and every one of them. The Wild’s next home game isn’t until Sunday — Feb. 28. So even if it wins that game over Florida, it will have been two full calendar months between wins at the X.
That futility (and counting) puts the Wild in the company of some of the worst teams in recent Minnesota sports history.
The Wolves? Their last home win of a 16-win season in 2014-15 came on March 7, while their first one this season (when they had an odd ability to win on the road early but not at home) didn’t come until Nov. 23 — a span of 67 in-season days over two seasons.
The Twins? Let’s go back to 2011, the year everything fell apart. They went a full month, April 24 to May 24, between victories at Target Field. That’s really hard to do in the everyday grind of baseball, but the Twins managed.
The Vikings? They went from Oct. 9 through the end of the season (Jan. 1) in 2011 without a home win, a span of nearly THREE months during that 3-13 campaign. They also didn’t win a game at the Metrodome until Nov. 7 in 2013 — their lone “home” win in that stretch coming in London over the Steelers.
Let’s not forget the Gophers men’s basketball team, which won a Big Ten home game on Feb. 7, 2015 over Purdue and didn’t win another one until Feb. 18, 2016 over Maryland.
Again, the amazing thing is that in spite of their home futility in the midst of this season, the Wild is very much in the hunt for a postseason berth.
I can’t imagine many (any?) NHL teams have endured that long of a home ice drought and still had a chance to hoist the Cup at the end of that season.