EDMONTON, ALBERTA — The Wild have had a knack lately for potting goals one right after another.
But so have their opponents.
These momentum swings are taking over games and, when the Wild aren't benefiting from the boost, the swoon on the other side has been an up-and-down battle the team might want to avoid Friday against the high-scoring Oilers.
"Gotta bear down," Matt Dumba said. "Make the smart, hard plays. Really communicate to each other. I think that's where the breakdowns have been is a lack of communication, and we can all do a better job of talking and helping each other out."
In the 5-3 loss in Calgary on Wednesday that snapped the Wild's four-game win streak, this seesaw was prominent.
After Kirill Kaprizov set the franchise records for longest point streak (13 games) and goal streak (seven) by capitalizing only 1 minute, 27 seconds into the first period, Mason Shaw wired in a 2-on-1 pass on the Wild's very next shot only 58 seconds later to give the team a two-goal head start.
This was the second straight game the Wild converted twice in less than a minute, with goals from Jake Middleton and Jordan Greenway last Sunday in Dallas coming only 15 seconds apart. Add in Connor Dewar's shorthanded breakaway prior to that, and the Wild totaled three in a breezy 2:50 during the second period.
Their climb, however, was followed by a collapse: the Stars responded in the third with two goals in 38 seconds and three in 2:43 before adding a fourth late to flip a 5-1 deficit into a 5-5 tie.
Calgary followed a similar script.
Just 1:21 after Nazem Kadri cut the Wild's lead in half, Blake Coleman served up the equalizer. Then 1:34 later, Tyler Toffoli completed the comeback. His finish as well as Kadri's were deflections on the power play; the Wild committed a string of four penalties after building their 2-0 advantage.
"We don't take penalties in [Wednesday's] hockey game, then it's a different story," coach Dean Evason said.
That turnaround certainly set the tone, with the Wild suddenly chasing and the Flames in control, but it wasn't the only one.
With 4:15 to go in the third, the Wild finally clawed back to equilibrium on Jon Merrill's first goal of the season. But the tie hung around for only 12 seconds. That's because after the Flames nabbed the ensuing faceoff, dumped the puck into Wild territory, retrieved it and Rasmus Andersson skated to the front of the net for a backhander that sailed by goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.
Unlike in Dallas, when the Wild rebounded from their four-goal lapse for a 6-5 shootout victory, they didn't reset in time and yielded an empty-net goal with 1:10 to go for just their second loss over the past eight games to split the first half of this trip.
"Focus more," Kaprizov said in Russian through an interpreter when asked what the team needs to do to stop blowing leads and getting scored on in quick succession. "Just focus more."
Even before these games against Calgary and Dallas, the Wild had a habit of giving up goals in a row to the opposition.
What could have been a lopsided win vs. Arizona in late November turned into a one-goal final after a pair of late tallies by the Coyotes. A two-goal second period by Anaheim last weekend put the Wild down by one going into the third.
"After we give up a goal, all together we have to be ready, calm, back chasing the puck," Fleury said.
Most of these skids have occurred with the Wild missing one of their top defensemen in Jonas Brodin, who's been sidelined the last four matchups with a lower-body injury.
Evason said he hopes Brodin will be back next game and if Brodin is in action vs. Edmonton, maybe that'll help the Wild prevent their spirals from undermining their surges.
"Ultimately, we need to focus on our game," Kaprizov said. "Play our game and when we do that, we can win."