Goals haven't been an issue for the Wild when each side has the same number of players on the ice.

But when it should get easier to capitalize, like when the team gets to set up in front of the opposition's net with an extra skater, the Wild stumbles.

"It's been a head-scratcher the whole year," coach Dean Evason said. "We score 5-on-5. Then we get a man advantage, and we don't."

The inconsistency from the power play — and the penalty kill, for that matter — is not new, but the consequence for their ineffectiveness is.

These struggles cost the team Game 1 and home-ice advantage, the deciding factor in a 4-0 waxing by the Blues on Monday night at Xcel Energy Center that gave St. Louis the early edge in the best-of-seven first-round Stanley Cup playoff series.

And while the Wild can target areas to improve for Game 2 on Wednesday, the team's best course of action might be to try to avoid a special-teams battle with the Blues.

"They don't mind it," Evason said. "We don't want it, so we've got to tip the scales the other way."

Still, that's probably easier said than done.

A whopping 19 penalties were assessed in Game 1, including a hooking call against Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin that led to a rare penalty shot for St. Louis center Ivan Barbashev that goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stopped. But almost half of the infractions were roughing minors, intensity that might seem inevitable in the playoffs but extra effort the Wild might have to cut out to shelve the NHL's second-best power play.

"I don't think we can plan on a 5-on-5 game for 60 minutes, but we still can try," Fleury said. "Stay out of the box and keep their power play off the ice."

That would be a start, but the Wild could still need its special teams to deliver.

What wasn't working for the 0-for-6 power play was a familiar malfunction, and that's the team's lack of execution.

Not only did the Wild rack up 11 shots, but the team identified 10 quality chances. None translated to offense.

Give Blues goalie Ville Husso credit; he was sharp in his first playoff appearance, making 37 saves in the shutout.

"I got robbed in the second power play of the game," winger Marcus Foligno said. "Made a great save on me. Put that [shot] in, it's a different story."

Across the ice was an example of what happens when all the pieces sync together.

While converting twice in six opportunities and getting a third goal just after the Wild was back at full strength, St. Louis relied on quick puck movement to create wide-open shots that winger David Perron buried en route to his first career postseason hat trick. These goals, however, were also an indictment of the Wild's penalty kill and the structure that cracked around the net.

"Sure, two pucks land perfectly on Perron's stick — perfectly," Evason said. "But there's nobody there to contest it, either. So, we need to have some people in that area to clear those loose pucks when they are there."

With the power play 18th and penalty kill 25th during the regular season, the Wild never found a lasting solution for either unit.

This search continues, but now the margin of error is much smaller.

"It's got to change big time," Foligno said.