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Cooke: Despite losing record, Wild ‘built for the road’

Dec 11, 2013, 10:59 AM EDT

ST. PAUL, MN - OCTOBER 10: Matt Cooke #24 of the Minnesota Wild is congratulated by teammate Dany Heatley #15 after scoring a goal during the game against the Winnipeg Jets on October 10, 2013 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images) Getty Images

On paper, Minnesota is not a good road team — but in the mind of Matt Cooke, the Wild should be.

“Personally, I think we’re built for the road,” Cooke told the Pioneer Press. “We don’t want to go out and make everything look pretty. We’re a team that’s going to go out and play responsible and take care of our own end and capitalize on our opportunities.

“That should suit us well on the road.”

The Wild have just five wins in 14 games away from Xcel Energy Center this year, with three of those wins coming against non-playoff entities (at Buffalo, at Ottawa, at Winnipeg). Only one — a signature 5-3 win over the ‘Hawks at the United Center on Oct. 26 — has come against a Western Conference foe.

Minnesota’s being asked questions about their shoddy road record because it’s about to embark on arguably its toughest stretch of the year. The Wild play tonight in Anaheim, Thursday in San Jose and Saturday in Colorado before returning home for a one-game set against Vancouver.

After the Canucks game, the Wild are back out on the road for a four-game Eastern swing through Pittsburgh, New York (Rangers), Philly and Winnipeg.

All told, the Wild play seven of their next eight on the road, and know they have to start getting some results.

“We haven’t been that good on the road, but we’ve been pretty solid at home,” Ryan Suter said. “We have to find a way to get better on the road because good teams win on the road. We’ve got to get that going.”

  1. lordfletcher - Dec 11, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    Anyone know how many games Backstrom has played on the road compared to Harding?

    What had hurt the wild again are injuries (happens to every team) and what seems to be a lack of motivation on the road so far. I would assume this will change as they have a very difficult road trip starting tonight.

    • hennessey1200hp - Dec 11, 2013 at 6:05 PM

      Hopefully Backstrom rides the pine for 3 straight. He looks old and slow this year.

  2. purpleguy - Dec 11, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    We’ll find out how well they’re built for the road after these 3 games. And if they start Backy in SJ, and he fights the puck like he did in Columbus, the road building will be full of potholes.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. J. Harding (1498)
  2. C. Price (1451)
  3. C. Anderson (1434)
  4. B. Bishop (1407)
  5. A. Ekblad (1373)
  1. M. Staal (1354)
  2. J. Giguere (1312)
  3. M. Fleury (1296)
  4. D. Alfredsson (1265)
  5. D. Setoguchi (1122)