EDMONTON, ALBERTA — The first test of adversity for the Wild and new coach John Hynes has started.
After christening Hynes' arrival with a 4-0 run, the Wild have dropped back-to-back games: They were denied 4-3 by the Edmonton Oilers on Friday night at Rogers Place less than 24 hours after getting shut out by the Vancouver Canucks.
"That's all part of us getting better," Hynes said, "and I think the faster that those things happen, the better we're going to be able to jell as a group and get our way to where we can be much more consistent in what we're doing."
The Wild were stung by Edmonton's power play twice, first with 90 seconds left in the second period when Leon Draisaitl teed up a 3-3 tie, and then again 1:32 into the third after Evan Bouchard polished off the Oilers' comeback with his second goal of the game.
But this wasn't the only loss the Wild suffered.
Jonas Brodin left after getting crunched into the boards by the Oilers' Evander Kane in the first minute of the third period and did not return.
"You never want to see anybody get hit like that," said Hynes, who didn't have an update on Brodin's status after the game. "It's not my job to comment on the hit. That's the referee's job. It's an unfortunate situation, and it was tough to lose Brodes at that point."
Kane was not penalized for the hit and in the aftermath, Ryan Hartman was reprimanded for roughing Kane and that led to Bouchard's one-timer on the power play. Hartman and Kane also had a run-in two seasons ago, with Hartman donating the money fans sent him to cover the fine he received from the league.
"We've got to control our emotions there a little bit," Hynes said. "It's a tie game, and that was a sequence obviously that was the difference in the game."
Asked for his take on his penalty, Hartman said: "We battled hard tonight. We wish we could have got that win tonight."
The Wild came close to at least extending the action to overtime: Hartman hit the post in the final 2 minutes and then got off a wrister seconds later that was blocked by Edmonton netminder Stuart Skinner. Then with 2 seconds to go, Skinner stopped Wild captain Jared Spurgeon for his 17th save of the night.
At the other end, Marc-Andre Fleury racked up 36 stops in his 996th career game. He remains four victories shy of passing Patrick Roy for the second-most all-time.
"I just want to win," Fleury said. "I feel like I'm giving up too many goals. It's getting tough to win when you give up four, right? A couple PKs there, too. Just want to do more to get a win."
Fleury actually kept the Wild afloat during their sluggish start.
Most of the players in front of him were coming off the 2-0 loss on Thursday at Vancouver, and the Wild's posture reflected that tight turnaround.
Not until 4:44 was left in the first did the Oilers finally solve Fleury on a Bouchard glove-side shot. Still, the Wild goalie finished the frame with a whopping 17 saves.
"We definitely were on our heels to start the game," Jake Middleton said.
But a much better version of the Wild appeared in the second.
Only 15 seconds into the period, Matt Boldy buried a Joel Eriksson Ek rebound after Boldy bulldozed the puck into the Edmonton end after the initial faceoff.
Then a breezy 26 seconds later, Boldy was the playmaker, setting up Eriksson Ek for a wrister that flew by Skinner.
These goals were the second-fastest pair to start a period in Wild history, trailing only a 34-second blitz by Boldy and Mats Zuccarello on Jan. 14, 2022.
Boldy has five goals in his past six games, while Eriksson Ek's 13 are the most on the team.
But that Wild advantage didn't last long.
By 1:21, Connor McDavid answered back for the Oilers with a highlight-reel play.
The reigning NHL MVP swooped into Wild territory, cut around Middleton and then skated around a sprawled Fleury before backhanding the puck into a vacant net.
That equaled two goals for McDavid's line and two for Eriksson Ek's, with the lines going toe-to-toe all game long.
"We played well once we started playing below their dots down low and breaking them down that way," Boldy said. "They've obviously a fast team that likes to score on the rush so if you give them anything, they're going to go. But it's a little different when you get them down there and break them down a little bit."
But neither of those lines supplied the tiebreaker.
Connor Dewar was responsible for that, a blistering one-timer at 11:58 to put the Wild up 3-2 after a behind-the-net feed from Hartman. Dewar's six goals tied his career high set last season.
But in what turned out to be an omen, the Edmonton power play stung the Wild to prevent them from hauling a lead into the third period.
Draisaitl's patented one-timer from the right side eluded Fleury before Bouchard's game-winner.
Overall, the penalty kill went 2-for-4, making this the first time with Hynes in charge the Wild have given up multiple power play goals in a game. Their power play was 0-for-2.
Still, they have an opportunity to end this four-game road trip on the upswing on Sunday night at Seattle.
"We weren't going to win all games to the end, right?" Fleury said. "But still need to progress, still need to learn from our mistakes and still need to get better and do John's systems and thoughts. I think we'll do that. I think we'll be fine."