If there are any silver linings contained within the Wild's mediocre early results this year, these are two candidates:

• At some point the team might finally be healthy, and Zach Parise's likely appearance for the American Hockey League's Iowa Wild on Thursday is a good sign his injury rehab is progressing.

• The other point is schedule-related: Going into Wednesday's home game against Dallas, the Wild had played just 16 games at Xcel Energy Center compared with 20 road contests. That's not a huge disparity, but the 16 home games were tied for the fewest in the Western Conference going into Wednesday.

Counting Wednesday's game against Dallas, the Wild is embarking on a stretch of nine out of the next 12 games at home. Like most teams, Minnesota has been much better at home than on the road this year. This is a real chance to pile up some points and make up some lost ground.

Read Michael Rand's blog at startribune.com/randball. michael.rand@startribune.com.