In the aftermath of the 4-2 loss to the Predators Monday, the Wild embraced the positives.
It was competitive, had a chance in the third period to even the score and received strong goaltending yet again.
But when the team reassembled Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center ahead of its second challenge is as many nights against the Coyotes, the focus seemed to shift to translating that progress into points.
“The message is pretty simple,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We gotta get our act in gear, and you can’t be satisfied with close losses against good teams. You have to win. This is a winning league, so we’ll find a true test of character right now.”
Labeling a game in October as a “must-win” might be a stretch, but there did appear to be a sense of urgency around the team Tuesday morning.
After playing Arizona, the team will have two days before it’s next contest – Friday in Dallas before it returns home to host the Lightning Saturday.
“I call it a very important game for us,” Boudreau said. “If you look at our schedule, we have to get to .500 quick and then you have to start moving above .500 fi you want to stay in this race. I’ve bene through it where you have bad starts. It makes it an awful tough grind for the rest of the year. You want to be able to play with a little comfort zone here in case you do have a bad stretch, but we don’t want that to happen right now.”
The Wild will rely on the same lineup except it’ll sub No.1 Devan Dubnyk in for backup Alex Stalock. Dubnyk is coming off a 52-save performance Saturday against the Hurricanes.
“I think last night was a good step,” Dubnyk said. “We have to understand that tonight’s important, and we need to be ready to go.”
Jason Zucker-Eric Staal-Jordan Greenway
Zach Parise-Mikko Koivu-Mikael Granlund
Nino NiederreiterEric Fehr-Charlie Coyle
Marcus Foligno-Matt Hendricks-J.T. Brown
Ryan Suter- Matt Dumba
Jonas Brodin-Jared Spurgeon
Nick Seeler-Greg Pateryn
6: Assists in winger Zach Parise’s last three games.
497: Career points for defenseman Ryan Suter.
12-2-3: The Wild’s record in its last 17 games against the Coyotes.
5-7-3: How the Wild fared in the second game of a back-to-back last season.
2: Wins for Arizona last season vs. Minnesota.
About the Coyotes:
Arizona is off to a rough start, getting shut out three times and scoring just twice amid a 1-3 debut. The Coyotes’ lone win was almost a week ago, when he edged the Ducks 3-2 in a shootout. Since then, the team has played just once – a 3-0 loss to the Sabres Saturday. Arizona has had plenty of shots, tallying 30 or more in its first four games for the first time in franchise history since 1985. The Coyotes’ third period shot differential is plus-38 – which is the second-highest among any team in any period this season.