Despite already locking up a playoff spot, the Wild can try to check off another box during its push to the finish line, and that's securing home-ice advantage for its first-round series.
But not only did the team fail to get any closer to accomplishing that Wednesday when it kicked off a seven-game homestand, the Wild also had a rare off night at Xcel Energy Center that didn't make it look so intimidating in its own building.
In its first game since clinching a playoff berth, the Wild twice blew a two-goal lead — rolling out the welcome mat to get stunned 4-3 by the Blues in front of 3,000 to end the team's season-high seven-game win streak and suffer just its fifth regulation loss at home.
"Just got taught a lesson," Marcus Foligno said. "That team doesn't quit. We just get complacent and leave our [goaltender] out to dry."
St. Louis took over in the third period, scoring as many goals as the Wild had shots (three) in a comeback that was finalized with 23 seconds to go when Robert Thomas corralled a bouncing puck and lifted it past Cam Talbot.
"When it comes down to it, that's when you need a save, especially with 23 seconds left," said Talbot, who made 28 total. "Just got to get a blocker on it, got to get something behind that one.
"It's just a tough one to swallow when you're so close to getting to at least getting a point, taking it to overtime and anything can happen there. Third period we needed a save and didn't get one tonight."
The collapse glossed over a tremendous effort by the line of Jordan Greenway, Joel Eriksson Ek and Foligno.
They set the tone physically, combining for 11 hits, and were behind the Wild's three goals — getting the scoring started with 2:13 left in the first period. After Greenway dumped the puck deep to Foligno, he fed Jonas Brodin for a shot that sailed past goalie Jordan Binnington as Eriksson Ek was setting a screen.
"They just were who they were," Wild coach Dean Evason said, "and they got rewarded for it."
The line continued to roll in the second, doubling the Wild's lead 32 seconds into the period when Eriksson Ek was left alone in front to backhand in a Greenway rebound and extend his career-high point streak to six games. With two assists, Greenway is up to 30 points — a career high.
An interference penalty by Kevin Fiala put St. Louis on the power play and only eight seconds into the advantage, the Blues converted — a shot by Mike Hoffman that trickled through Talbot at 10:27.
But the Wild re-established control on the next shift thanks to — who else — but the Eriksson Ek line.
Foligno wired in a shot from the middle of the offensive zone, his 10th of the season. Over their past six games, Greenway, Eriksson Ek and Foligno have combined for seven goals and 11 assists.
"Our line's been dominant all year," Foligno said.
Another power play goal by Hoffman at 3:49 of the third made it 3-2, and St. Louis tied the score by 7:41 when Thomas worked a Matt Dumba turnover to Jordan Kyrou for a goal. The Blues finished 2-for-2 on the power play, while the Wild went 0-for-1.
"You can't give teams life and energy," Eriksson Ek said. "This league is so tight."
Despite the rally, fourth-place St. Louis remains a whopping 15 points back of the No. 3 Wild. But it's the race ahead of the Wild that was affected by the team standing still for a night.
"We have a lot to play for," Foligno said. "I know we have an 'X' next to our name in the standings, but it doesn't mean crap. We've got to come ready to work and play a full 60. Playoffs are just going to get harder. So we learn from this and we get better from it."