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Wild trying to remain positive as losing streak stretches to five

It was another loss by the exact same score, a grim-looking 4-0 letdown to the Ducks Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center that extended the Wild’s rut to five straight losses and 1-6-3 overall in its last 10 outings.

And while there was a sense of exasperation among players after another deflating outcome, there was also a tone of defiance – an attitude the team is poised to need to climb out of this slump.

 

 

“It’s frustrating, but we can’t feel sorry for ourselves,” defenseman Ryan Suter said. “No one’s going to feel sorry for us. We have to find ways to score. You have to focus on the next game. Everyone has to do something different to find a way to score.”

While there was plenty to bemoan after another setback, players reiterated the pursuit of solutions rather than dwelling on the negativity that keeps piling on to the group.

Rehashing mistakes is part of the roadmap the team’s using to figure out a way out of this jam, but doing so with a resilient outlook is the goal.

“Things aren't going our way,” winger Charlie Coyle said. “It's that simple, and you've got to find a way. You've got to stay positive through it all. No matter how bad things get, we've got to stay positive and we've got to find a way.”

What’s likely to challenge that perspective is the looming uncertainty of the trade deadline, which expires Monday.

Although General Manager Paul Fenton said he hasn’t affixed a “buyer” or “seller” tag to the team, it seems inevitable some degree of change will hit the roster.

“It's up to him. It's not my department,” Coyle said. “We can only control what happens on the ice, and obviously we haven't been controlling it as best as can here. It's a shame that that has to be talked about and has to happen as it has previous weeks here, and who knows what’s going to happen. But it should never get to that. It's a shame that it is."

After finishing a four-game homestand 0-2-2, the Wild will venture on the road for a back-to-back set Thursday and Friday against the Rangers and Red Wings, respectively.

How the offense responds to consecutive shutouts will be key for the team. Tuesday’s result stretched its scoreless streak to 156 minutes, 24:07 shy of tying the franchise record.

“We have to figure it out in this room,” Suter said. “We have guys that have scored a lot of goals in this league, and hopefully we’ll figure it out here.”

Had the team not have been stalled by two quick whistles against the Ducks, perhaps it would have finally snapped its skid.

But when a funk has been hanging around a team as long as this one has with the Wild, it’s not surprising that it’s not getting rescued by breaks and bounces.

“It didn't help it,” Coyle said of the hurried whistles. “It seems like things aren't already going your way, you're not playing up to the way you're supposed to or you can be and those sort of things can [happen] if you let it. You've got to stay positive through everything. So [much] stuff that happens like that – bad whistles, bad penalties, whatever. That's how it goes. That's hockey. It's how you respond to it, and I think we didn't respond here."

Wild's dud of a homestand ends tonight vs. not-so-mighty Ducks

The Wild’s four-game homestand has been a dud, with the team dropping the first three matches to continue a 1-5-3 slide, but it has a chance to make sure it doesn’t end the stretch winless Tuesday when it hosts the Ducks at Xcel Energy Center.

 

 

“This is our next opportunity to get back to feeling the way we’re used to feeling in here,” goalie Devan Dubnyk said.

Winger Pontus Aberg will be back in the lineup after missing the previous eight games with a lower-body injury. He’ll face his former team, as the Wild acquired Aberg from Anaheim last month.

“I hope he brings some skill,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “He’s got a big shot. I hope he works out on the power play. I hope he competes. Those are the three things that we’d like to see, and hopefully we will.”

Center Cal O’Reilly hadn’t yet made it to Xcel Energy Center when the team convened for its morning skate. Boudreau hopes O’Reilly arrives today, and his addition gives the Wild another option up the middle while center Mikael Granlund is on baby watch.

Veteran Matt Hendricks was on the ice Tuesday morning after getting cleared to participate in practice. Hendricks has missed the last two games with an upper-body injury. Same as center Victor Rask, who’s been dealing with a lower-body injury. He’s been placed on injured reserve.

“He’ll probably be another few days before he gets ready to play,” Boudreau said.

Projected lineup:

Jordan Greenway-Eric Staal-Jason Zucker

Zach Parise-Mikael Granlund-Charlie Coyle

Marcus Foligno-Joel Eriksson Ek-Luke Kunin

Brad Hunt-Eric Fehr-Pontus Aberg

Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin-Greg Pateryn

Nick Seeler-Anthony Bitetto

Devan Dubnyk

Key numbers:

11: Assists for defenseman Ryan Suter in his last 16 games.

1-1: The Wild’s record vs. the Ducks this season.

2: Goals for winger Mikael Granlund against Anaheim in those games.

1.98: Goals-against average for Dubnyk in his career vs. the Ducks.

5: Straight losses on home ice for the Wild.

About the Ducks:

Anaheim has won just twice in its 10 games, sitting five points back of the Wild for the second wild card seed in the Western Conference. The team is coming off a 5-2 victory over the Capitals Sunday. Overall, the Ducks are 2-1 since General Manager Bob Murray took over behind the bench. Winger Corey Perry has a goal and three points in eight games since returning from injury. Goalie Ryan Miller is 5-2-1 with a .922 save percentage and 2.64 goals-against average.

Final, 2/21 1 2 3 F
Minnesota 28-27-6 1 1 2 4
NY Rangers 26-26-8 0 1 0 1

NHL Scoreboard

  • Carolina

    Florida

     

    - F

    4

    3

  • Ottawa

    New Jersey

     

    - F

    0

    4

  • Minnesota

    NY Rangers

     

    - F

    4

    1

  • San Jose

    Pittsburgh

     

    - F

    4

    0

  • Washington

    Toronto

     

    - F

    3

    2

  • Philadelphia

    Montreal

     

    - F

    1

    5

  • Buffalo

    Tampa Bay

     

    - F

    1

    2

  • Los Angeles

    Nashville

     

    - F

    1

    2

  • St. Louis

    Dallas

     

    - F

    2

    5

  • NY Islanders

    Edmonton

     

    - F

    3

    4

  • Arizona

    Vancouver

     

    - F

    3

    2