PHILADELPHIA – The Wild haven't had too many off-nights the past month-plus, but when they do stray from their style, they're not as successful no matter who they're playing.
That was the takeaway Thursday when they fell to the lowly Flyers 5-4 in a shootout at Wells Fargo Center to split their two-game road trip while extending their 10-game point streak on the road to 7-0-3.
Overall, the Wild are 13-1-4 over their past 18 games with 10 to go in the regular season.
"It didn't look like our hockey club," coach Dean Evason said. "It's a good thing we've got a practice day [Friday]. We can adjust some of those issues."
After Matt Boldy scored his second goal of the night in the third period, Philadelphia's Tyson Foerster responded just 44 seconds later to set up extra time where the Flyers prevailed in the shootout on a lone tally by James van Riemsdyk.
Mats Zuccarello, Frederick Gaudreau and Boldy blanked on their chances for the Wild. Marc-Andre Fleury, who finished with 30 saves, had his win streak stopped at seven games. At the other end, Philadelphia's Carter Hart made 20 stops.
"We just gave them a lot of looks and just didn't seem to be sharp," Marcus Foligno said.
This was clear almost immediately, with the Wild looking out of sync for most of the first and second periods.
"We kept turning the puck over, throwing it in the middle, very soft plays coming out of our zone, not getting it through," Evason said.
By 12:58, the Flyers earned a well-deserved lead when Scott Laughton buried a 2-on-1.
Before the first period ended, the Wild responded at 16:35 on a deflection by Oskar Sundqvist after a head's-up keep-in at the blue line by Jake Middleton. The goal extended Sundqvist's point streak to five games. But that wasn't the spark that helped the Wild turn the corner; they had just nine shots more than halfway through the second period.
"We saw a couple of spurts," Evason said, "but that was it."
One of those blips came after Joel Farabee tipped in the go-ahead goal for Philadelphia 7:26 into the second.
With 4:19 left in the frame, Boldy connected on a blistering shot for the equalizer and just 2:35 later, Foligno delivered the Wild's first lead with a wind-up from the right faceoff circle.
But the momentum was short-lived.
At 19:37, Rasmus Ristolainen's point shot on the power play sent both teams back to Square 1.
As for the Wild's power play, they went 0-for-3 while managing just one shot.
"Not good enough," Evason said.
Still, the Wild did move past the Flyers one more time when Boldy — who else? — stuffed in a backhander with his back to the net for his fifth multi-goal game and 15th multipoint effort of the season, both of which rank second on the Wild. Joel Eriksson Ek assisted on both goals by Boldy, who's scored six times in his past three games.
"It's fun to watch," Johansson said of his linemate Boldy. "He's an unbelievable player, and I feel like he's playing well all over the ice."
Once again, though, Philadelphia clapped back, with Foerster's shot smacking off the post before making its way into the net on the very next shift after Boldy's goal.
"It's tough to swallow, but it's a tie game," Johansson said. "We've got to keep playing. I feel like we could've still won the game in the end."
Despite their last power play carrying over into overtime, the Wild failed to take advantage and put just one puck on net in the extra frame before fading in the shootout.
"We feel like if we would've been on from the start maybe it would've turned out differently," Johansson said. "That's the way it is."