Eight games into the season, the Wild has won more times than it's lost.
But that doesn't mean the team has been at its best.
"We haven't really played great all season, honestly," alternate captain Marcus Foligno said. "I don't think we've played our game yet. There's little spurts of it where we have five wins because of it. But I don't think we're really at our game just yet."
After debuting 4-0, the Wild fell closer to equilibrium (5-3) during its recent road trip when it dropped two out of three games and three out of four overall.
This slide coincided with a rash of roster turnover, adversity that the Wild will have to keep navigating as it searches for improvement.
"We just have to be those calming presences out there," goaltender Cam Talbot said of the team's veterans. "Sometimes you just have to settle it down and not force plays, just make the simple play, and when we're doing that, more often than not we're having success.
"If our veteran guys are playing the right way, the young guys see it and they're going to follow suit."
As the Wild's experience took a hit last week, the team's youth grew in population.
Mats Zuccarello remains sidelined by COVID-19; same with Rem Pitlick. Jordan Greenway is on injured reserve with a lower-body injury, and Alex Goligoski is dealing with an upper-body injury that's expected to make him unavailable for a week or two.
Since these absences started to roll in, the Wild has called up five players from the minors. Over the past two losses, a pair of 4-1 setbacks to Seattle and Colorado, three rookies have made their NHL debuts. And while changes like these can affect the cohesiveness of the lineup, Foligno and Talbot praised the newcomers.
Foligno actually said he was disappointed in the Wild's leadership group when asked about the core stabilizing the team.
"We've got so many guys coming in and out of the lineup right now," Talbot said. "It's hard to find that chemistry right now. Everybody's playing with somebody different night in, night out. Give those young guys credit. They've come in and given us valuable minutes, and they haven't hurt us. They've come in and played extremely hard."
What could ease the transition is a boost from the team's go-to players.
"We just need to find a couple more goals every game," coach Dean Evason said.
Kirill Kaprizov still hasn't scored this season, and Kevin Fiala has just one goal. Both have combined for eight assists, with Fiala mired in a five-game pointless skid and Kaprizov boasting only one helper in that span.
"They still get looks," said Foligno, who's tied for second on the Wild in points with six. "I just think when that happens, you just need work ethic. I think sometimes cuteness is in their game a little bit, but they're hard workers. They just need to understand they feed off that stuff when they win battles."
More offense is just one key to unlocking the Wild's identity, though. The Wild is one of the most penalized teams in the NHL and has put the opposition on the power play at least three times every game. Many infractions are trips and hooks.
"We have to be a smart team, stick-wise [and] penalty-wise," Foligno said.
The chance for the Wild to make those strides and realize its potential continues this week, starting Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center against Ottawa.
"You never want to lose two in a row. You definitely don't want to lose three," Talbot said. "We'll go back home, regroup, have our fans behind us again and hopefully come out there and play one of our best games of the year so far."