With the Wild having won twice in the past 15 games and just barely inside the playoff bubble in the Western Conference, it now faces a critical stretch without captain Mikko Koivu.
According to sources, Koivu sustained a left shoulder injury during Saturday's shootout loss at St. Louis -- an injury that was being evaluated by team doctors but is expected to sideline the Wild's leading scorer for at least a month.
General Manager Chuck Fletcher didn't respond to an interview request, but Koivu left Scottrade Center on Saturday night with his shoulder in a sling. Fletcher is expected to update Koivu's status after Monday morning's practice at Xcel Energy Center.
The injury will cause Koivu to miss this month's All-Star Game, but he is expected to travel with the Wild during its upcoming father-son trip to Philadelphia and Toronto because his father, Jukka, is scheduled to meet the team in Philadelphia.
With the Wild down to no extra forwards and already without injured second-line wingers Guillaume Latendresse and Pierre-Marc Bouchard, it will have to make a roster move Monday.
However, nobody was recalled as of Sunday night, and there was a sense Fletcher was burning up the phone lines in an attempt to make a trade.
"It's a big loss," goalie Josh Harding said, not knowing the severity of Koivu's injury after making a career-high 47 saves against the Blues. "Just like all year, we've had people go down, but people step up. We didn't have him through a lot of this game, and I thought that a lot of people picked up their game. We're not going to be able to fill his shoes, but collectively we can battle hard for each other."