Two non-calls, a pair of goals in 1 minute, 12 seconds and a special-teams takeover instigated by 13 penalties.
That’s what added up to the Wild’s latest setback, a 4-1 slough to the Canucks on Sunday in front of 17,348 at Xcel Energy Center, a loss that extended the team’s winless skid to three games.
But what that math meant in the standings was even grimmer.
After being only three points back of the playoff pace in the Western Conference last weekend, the Wild is now seven behind with a grueling schedule on deck.
“We looked at January as a homestand, and we haven’t really done much [with] it. It’s frustrating,” winger Marcus Foligno said. “[But] you can’t stop. We can still salvage it and get it back before the All-Star break, to make something out of it.”
To do that, the offense has to be resurrected — especially the power play — and the penalty kill must be a steadying force.
All areas were in the spotlight Sunday, a start-and-stop game fueled by a parade to the penalty box by both teams.
The Wild was penalized eight times, surviving all but one test — a deflection by Elias Pettersson 9:20 into the second that opened the scoring.
While a 7-for-8 report card was progress for a beleaguered unit that carried the worst efficiency (67.2 percent) in the NHL over its previous 23 games, repeatedly being shorthanded siphoned the rhythm out of the Wild’s play. And it was a costly blow to a team that’s managed just one goal in each of its past two outings.
“You don’t get any flow in the game,” coach Bruce Boudreau said.
Shortly before Pettersson’s goal, the Wild looked like it could have caught a break and given its power play more airtime.
As he posted up near the net, winger Zach Parise had his stick held by Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom and then was cross-checked by Christopher Tanev. Neither play was flagged.
“I felt like it should have been a penalty,” Parise said.
But that wasn’t the only sequence that came back to haunt the Wild.
Only 13 seconds after Foligno tied it at 1-1 at 11:58 of the second when he directed in a Luke Kunin rebound while crashing the net, the Canucks retook the lead when Bo Horvat stuffed in a puck that ended up in the crease after caroming off defenseman Matt Dumba.
“We got to be better there and get the puck in deep, keep it simple and try keep that momentum going for us after a great shift by [Foligno] and those guys,” said winger Jason Zucker, who was one of two Wild players to return from lengthy injury absences. Defenseman Greg Pateryn was the other.
Only 1:12 later, Vancouver was up by two after Troy Stecher’s shot flew glove-side on goalie Devan Dubnyk.
“It’s frustrating when that stuff happens,” Foligno said about the Canucks’ quick response. “But you have to be able to put that behind you. It just seemed like we were just hoping for something to give us a bounce, and it just wasn’t happening.”
The Wild staged its best push in the third period and came close in the waning minutes, but Markstrom was locked in and finished with 23 saves. Seven of those came on the power play, where the Wild went 0-for-5.
Dubnyk had 26 stops and was on the bench when Horvat scored into an empty net with 6 seconds remaining — an exclamation point on the Wild’s recent woes ahead of facing three top teams in Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and Dallas in the coming week.
“We didn’t get beat,” Foligno said. “We beat ourselves in a lot of categories. It seems like a lot of losses like that have happened this year.”