MONTREAL – The Wild flew back to the Twin Cities late Saturday night, will take the day off Sunday, practice in Dinkytown on Monday and resume its three-game road trip in New Jersey on Tuesday.
In that 36 hours, the Wild brass might need to search out a miracle cure for first-liner Zach Parise and defenseman Jared Spurgeon.
Parise scores, Spurgeon makes the Wild's transition game go, and the Wild is struggling with both out right now as it lost its third consecutive game Saturday night, this one 4-1 to the Montreal Canadiens at a lively Bell Centre.
The Wild's 7-3 record in the season's first 10 games and overall dominant play seems like an ancient memory.
"It's too bad," defenseman Ryan Suter said. "We had such a good thing going and now we're kind of getting away from what we were building."
Rookie defensemen Matt Dumba and Christian Folin made a pair of second-period mistakes that cost the Wild. The latter turnover by Folin, coming four minutes after Jason Pominville tied the score, was a huge momentum-turner as the Canadiens broke the game open with two goals in the first six minutes of the third.
The Wild has been outscored 11-2 in the past three games and has allowed 23 goals in the past seven games (3.3 a game). Charlie Coyle was minus-3; linemates Mikko Koivu and Jason Zucker were minus-2. Itwas another game where Wild players got impatient after not cashing in early, and that frustration led to an altered gameplan, reckless plays and another loss.
"I'm going to use the night here to sort it out," coach Mike Yeo said. "There's a couple different directions we can go. We can get very hard on certain individuals right now and take that approach or the other flip side is we have some young kids who are definitely pressing.
"You can see it in some of our execution, some of the plays — whether it's nerves or tension. Whatever the approach is we'll find the right one."
For a second consecutive game, all was good for the Wild in a well-played but scoreless first period. All would have been good in the second period, too, if the Wild didn't start coughing up pucks.
The 20-year-old Dumba, the king of trying to make something out of nothing, did just that with a thoughtless attempt to keep a puck in.
He did a good job stopping a bouncing puck at the blue line. But instead of safely dumping the puck, he tried to bank the puck past Max Pacioretty. When Dumba realized it was too soft, he jumped in front of Pacioretty and dived for the puck.
Tomas Plekanec got to it first, hit Brendan Gallagher with a stretch pass and even though the Wild wasn't outnumbered with Koivu covering for a fallen Dumba, Marco Scandella got fouled up, gave Gallagher the blue line and he fired a bomb past Darcy Kuemper for a 1-0 lead.
Dumba played one shift the rest of the game.
"I don't want to pin this just on him," Yeo said. "This is a young kid. He's learning lessons."
The Wild got the equalizer when Thomas Vanek saucered a pass to a driving Pominville, but Folin's turnover led to Lars Eller's goal for a momentum-turning 2-1 lead with 49.9 seconds left in the period.
Goals by Jiri Sekac and Pacioretty 78 seconds apart made it 4-1. The Sekac goal was controversial. Kuemper was unable to make the save, but referee Kelly Sutherland, who was calling an interference penalty on Nino Niederreiter, ruled good goal because he believed Niederreiter was the reason Brandon Prust ran Kuemper into the net.
Bottom line, the Wild's got big problems and there's no telling when Parise, Spurgeon and Matt Cooke return.
Yeo vowed though, "We'll be a better team at the 20-ghame mark than we are right now. This has to be about learning and sometimes when you face this adversity, like we saw last year, that makes you better."