Someone oughta put out an APB for the missing home-ice advantage that's disappeared from the Minnesota Wild.
Minnesota blew leads of 3-1 and 4-3 in a 5-4 home loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night. Blowing multiple leads in a building known for being a tough place for opponents to win in has been a growing trend this season, and it's been especially bad for nearly three months now.
Since Dec. 15, the Wild are an ugly 3-7-2 at home. For the season they're 13-11-4 at home, a long way from recent seasons when they owned one of the NHL's best home-ice advantages, including an incredible 27-6-8 home record just last season.
Minnesota got off to a slow start before erupting for three consecutive goals, one by Zach Parise on a 5-on-3 power play and than two from Luke Kunin, the 21 year old who has three goals and four assists since being recalled from the Iowa Wild earlier this month.
The 3-1 lead disappeared until Jared Spurgeon snuck a shot over the goalie's shoulder for a 4-3 lead early in the third period. Philly tied it at the 6:30 mark of the third after the Wild got caught in a bad line change, and then a tripping penalty on Nick Seeler gave teh Flyers a power play that they capitalized on with James Van Riemsdyk burying a rebound with 4:29 left in the game.
"It's happened all year. I don't know if you can count on both hands how many times in the third period it's been tied and we take a penalty and they score in the last seven minutes, eight minutes," Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I find it mind-boggling."
The Wild are 1-4-2 since the All-Star break. Somehow, they still find themselves in the playoff picture as the second wild card in the Western Conference. But the Blues, who have won seven in a row, have jumped them for the top wild card while the Canucks, Coyotes, Avalanche and Blackhawks are all 2-4 points within the Wild.
Up next: Minnesota hosts New Jersey on Friday night.