ST. LOUIS - The Wild has talked on and on this month about its improved depth. Sunday night it got taught a painful lesson from one of the deepest teams in the NHL.
Despite scoring three goals on four shots in the second period, the Wild collapsed in the third period and was lucky to eke a point out of the St. Louis Blues' 5-4 overtime victory.
The Wild, the embodiment of a one-line team, ruined another outstanding night from Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley thanks to turnovers, lost battles, bad penalties, constant defensive-zone scrambling and shaky goaltending.
Vladimir Sobotka buried Andy McDonald's setup in overtime after defenseman Ryan Suter failed to defend him at the goalmouth.
"Bottom line is we can sit here and talk about our potential and the fact that we've got a nice team on paper, but winners do things that it takes to win hockey games," irritated coach Mike Yeo said. "We can't allow that kind of barrage at our goal and expect to come out on top at the end of night."
Playing against a team that should have been tired in its sixth game in nine nights and second in two nights, the Wild instead looked lethargic after taking a 3-1 lead.
With the lead trimmed to one by the start of the third period, the Wild played with fire, taking three penalties in the first nine minutes. The Wild killed them all, but the Wild was now firmly on its heels as the crowd was jacked and the big, deep and fast Blues came in waves.
Chris Stewart and Barret Jackman finally scored 2 minutes, 18 seconds apart to give St. Louis a 4-3 lead.
"That was a recipe for how to lose a game right there," Yeo said, before bemoaning the penalties his players took -- a too many men on the ice, a puck into the crowd by Pierre-Marc Bouchard and an interference penalty to Marco Scandella.
"But even before that," Yeo said, "we don't get a couple pucks deep behind their defense like we've talked about. There were more than several mistakes."
Stewart tied the score at 3-3 when he slipped behind Suter and Tom Gilbert, screened Niklas Backstrom and deflected Alex Pietrangelo's shot. Soon after, a slow change by Cal Clutterbuck resulted in Kyle Brodziak and Matt Cullen not getting in Jackman's lane. He fired a shot through a bunch of bodies that Backstrom got a piece of but couldn't stop. Backstrom said he should have had it.
"We had the game. We let it slip away," said Brodziak, a minus-4 and on the ice for the Blues' last four goals. Cullen was on for the last three of regulation.
"We need them not to get scored on," Yeo said.
With 4:08 left, Heatley did force overtime with his fourth goal, but the Wild, outshot 16-4 in the third, justifiably succumbed. The inefficient play -- whether it was poor coverage or lost battles -- in its own end was alarming.
"Turnovers, penalties, we did everything to give them that game," Parise said. "It's very disappointing."
Parise registered his second consecutive two-goal game and 24th career three-point game to help the Wild rally from a 1-0 deficit in the second. Mikko Koivu, who scored his first goal, and Heatley had two points each. Parise, Koivu and Heatley have combined for 10 goals and 22 points in five games. The Wild has scored 13 goals as a team.
"They need some help," Yeo said. "We can't just ask those guys to score every goal for us every game."