Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 2/13/12
ST. PAUL, Minn. Wild coach Mike Yeo has done the math. Minnesota's first-year coach has looked at the possible scenarios for making the playoffs and knows what his team needs to accomplish if it has any hopes for a postseason berth. Yeo also knows the task can appear daunting if taken from a big-picture perspective. So, he's hoping the Wild can just get a win in their next game. After all, by Yeo's estimation, it's going to take 18 more to make the playoffs. "We need wins, for sure," Yeo said Monday. "I would say that, I'm guessing at a minimum, we need about 18 of them. And that will get us to 94 points right now. With what we have, 27 games left, that puts us at a clip of winning about six of every nine games, which I think is very doable for us. I think we have a favorable schedule. I think the schedule combined with the fact that the teams we want to get ahead of, we have a chance to play them all. So I think it's in our hands." Minnesota (25-22-8) returned home last week off three-game road trip with 18 of its final 29 games to be played at Xcel Center. After two back-to-back home losses -- and four in a row overall -- the Wild have 58 points and have dropped to 12th in the Western Conference. They are in the middle of a four-game homestand with games against Anaheim on Tuesday and Winnipeg on Thursday. For a team that has just five wins in its past 24 games, Yeo's math of winning six of every nine games the rest of the way is troubling. "If you start looking at it as too big of a picture and start looking at it as a whole, then it can seem a little daunting," Yeo said. "I think the biggest thing for us right now is just to really concentrate our focus on tomorrow. We need to win a game to feel good about ourselves here." With 16 of its final 27 games at home, Minnesota would seem to have the scheduling advantage to make a run. Included in the final 27 games are two games each against Chicago, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Calgary, Colorado and Dallas, the six teams ahead of the Wild in the standings. Just seven points separates the six teams. Only four points separate Minnesota and eighth-place Phoenix (62 points). Of the 12 games left against those six teams, eight are home games. Playing at the Xcel Center won't be the only cure for the Wild though. They've had their share of problems on the home ice as well. Minnesota is just 13-9-3 at home this season and its 29 points at home is tied for 27th in the league, while the 25 home dates are tied for the fewest. "I don't think it matters where you play," center Mikko Koivu said. "Obviously it's good that we're home a lot, but you have to take advantage of that. You can't just sit and wait and think things will happen for you." Yeo said he has a feeling, "we're due for some luck here." The Wild outshot Columbus 35-19, including 15-2 in the third period on Saturday, but was on the losing end again. Yeo said if his team can maintain its level of effort, they should eventually be rewarded. "We're just having a tough time of getting a hold of it right now and really grabbing that traction and running with it," Yeo said. "That's why we have to, let's just go tomorrow, just concentrate on that game, let's just play a great game and then we'll back it up with another one and that's how we get going here." The schedule at least looks to be in Minnesota's favor. "I think we're excited," forward Dany Heatley said. "This is a great time of year...We do play well at home. It's there for us. It's set up well for us and we've got to take advantage of this." Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.
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