DALLAS – The Wild blanked on an opportunity to inch closer to locking down a playoff spot, as its season-high seven-game point streak finally expired.
But the most concerning development Saturday amid a 4-1 loss to the Stars in front of 18,532 at American Airlines Center was a lower-body injury that knocked defenseman Ryan Suter out of the game.
“Sutes doesn’t get hurt very often, so any time he goes off like that you worry about it,” said coach Bruce Boudreau, who didn’t have an update on Suter’s status after the game. “Hopefully it’s not as bad as it looked when he was coming off. We’ll find out more when we meet on Monday.”
Suter was injured late in the second period after his right foot slammed awkwardly into the boards following a hit from Dallas’ Remi Elie. The 33-year-old had to be helped off the ice, and he appeared to be putting no weight on his right foot.
“Hopefully it’s not too bad,” winger Zach Parise said. “But you don’t want to see one of your teammates or anybody for that matter go down like that.”
Already, the Wild is missing Suter’s usual partner on the top pairing, Jared Spurgeon, who’s been sidelined since he suffered a partial tear of his right hamstring March 13. And just Thursday in a 5-2 home victory over the Stars, the Wild lost defenseman Gustav Olofsson to an upper-body injury.
Amid a slew of injuries this season, the Wild has been able to stay on course for a playoff berth. But forging on without Suter for any length of time could be tough. Not only does he lead the league in ice time, starring in every situation for the Wild, but he’s been an offensive catalyst with a career-high 45 assists.
“I think everyone knows what Ryan means to the team, but I think what everyone doesn’t know is that we’ve got a group of young defensemen in here that are willing to step up and are going to,” defenseman Matt Dumba said. “We have to. It’s moments like these that you need elevation in everyone’s game.”
Even before Suter exited the action, the Wild was in rally mode.
Center Jason Spezza put Dallas ahead 12 minutes, 49 seconds into the first period when he got behind the Wild defense and unleashed a backhand shot that trickled through goalie Devan Dubnyk’s five-hole.
At 8 minutes of the second, the Wild deficit grew to two when defenseman John Klingberg was left alone in the slot to accept a Jamie Benn feed and wire it by Dubnyk.
And only 19 seconds into the third, center Radek Faksa’s redirect counted as a shorthanded tally for Dallas.
“We had three bad turnovers, and they ended up in our net,” Boudreau said.
In the waning stages of that power play, the Wild was able to eventually capitalize on a deflection by Parise — his third goal in two games that extended his point streak to six games.
Parise’s goal seemed to galvanize the Wild, but it couldn’t get another puck past Kari Lehtonen. Instead, the Stars chipped in an empty-netter from center Tyler Seguin, his 40th.
Lehtonen totaled 33 saves, and Dubnyk had 32.
“We had the puck a lot in the third,” Dumba said. “We had plenty of scoring opportunities. We just didn’t capitalize. It was that kind of night.”