The Wild didn’t put forth an effort worth a win let alone a point in the 5-4 overtime loss to the Hurricanes Saturday.
And apparently the same logic applied to its meeting Monday with the Predators because despite a competitive showing, the Wild was tripped up 4-2 at Bridgestone Arena to drop to 1-2-2.
“It can be frustrating,” center Eric Staal said. “But you’ve got to believe that if you work like that and you compete, it’ll even out.”
While the Wild still looked scrambly at times, grasping at the cohesiveness it needs to transition from defense to offense, it had a pluckiness about it that was reminiscent of past successes.
Against an opponent of Nashville’s caliber – the reigning President’s Trophy winner for posting the most points (117) in the NHL last season, that’s an encouraging sign.
Players highlighted that after the game, remarking about the team’s battle level and how the work ethic used is the standard the Wild needs to maintain. And while that didn’t translate to two points Monday, maybe it will next time.
“For sure you always want to win,” captain Mikko Koivu said. “But I think in the big picture we also know if you’re playing good hockey game after game, eventually you’re going to win.”
The Wild won’t have to wait long to try to build off Monday’s outing since it hosts the Coyotes Tuesday.
Boudreau said the team would discuss on the plane ride back to the Twin Cities whether it would make a call-up ahead of the game.
It’ll be interesting to see if Koivu’s line with wingers Zach Parise and Mikael Granlund can continue to contribute.
The unit combined for five points against the Predators and has two goals and 10 assists in the past three games.
Goalie Devan Dubnyk will return to the crease Tuesday, but backup Alex Stalock did an admirable job Monday in his first test of the season.
Stalock made 24 saves and could be back between the pipes soon.
The Wild plays another back-to-back Friday (in Dallas) and Saturday (at home against the Lightning).
“He’s a competitor. He competes,” Boudreau said. “He plays hard. Who was going to stop any of the ones that went in? [Mattias] Ekholm from 15 feet out. A rebound on the power play with an open net. He couldn’t see through it, and the other one was a breakaway by [Filip] Forsberg – one of the best players in the league.
“Other than that, he stopped a breakaway that kept us within one goal and then he made another good save on [Viktor] Arvidsson coming in with four minutes to go to give us the opportunity to tie it up. I have no qualms with the way he played.”