DENVER – What felt inevitable for weeks finally came true: The Wild are eliminated from playoff contention.

A 5-2 loss at Colorado Tuesday night was the last straw with four games to go, the Wild now mathematically unable to catch Vegas and Los Angeles; Nashville was already out of reach and clinched earlier in the night.

This is the first time the Wild haven't advanced since 2019 and just the second postseason they'll miss in 12 years.

"It's not a very fun position to be in," defenseman Zach Bogosian said in the aftermath. "We've strung together some good games. Obviously, tonight's tough."

As recently as March 20, the Wild were just three points back of a Western Conference wild-card berth.

That night, the Wild could have climbed within one point of the Golden Knights with a win but instead were walloped 6-0 by the Kings.

After that, their deficit ballooned.

They emerged from a four-day break a whopping nine points out and although they moved within five with a victory over the Senators last Tuesday, the Wild were in a nine-point hole after the Avalanche upended them 5-2 on Thursday. That's also how many points behind they were when they were officially ousted.

"Just keep grinding, keep working hard and play good the rest of this season here," defenseman Jonas Brodin said. "Yeah, just play hard and don't quit."

With two of the three games left on their road trip against Vegas and Los Angeles, the Wild have a chance to play spoiler. The defending Stanley Cup champion Golden Knights are still jostling with the Kings for seeding.

But this four-game march to the end will also be telling for the Wild.

On Wednesday, they called up Liam Ohgren from the minors barely a week after the forward joined the American Hockey League from Sweden.

Ohgren, the Wild's first-round draft pick in 2022, appeared in three games with Iowa before this promotion, which gives him a chance to get acquainted with the Wild before vying for a spot on the team at training camp in the fall. He's the second Wild prospect to get a late-season stint in the NHL: goaltender Jesper Wallstedt earned his first NHL win and shutout Sunday by blanking Chicago 4-0.

Wallstedt has remained with the Wild on their trip, and it's possible he gets another start. The Wild play Friday at Vegas and Saturday in San Jose before facing Los Angeles on Monday ahead of their last home game Thursday vs. Seattle.

"I just want more of this, this feeling," Wallstedt said after his milestone game.

As for the incumbents, they'll be under evaluation just like they always are.

"We know what our circumstances are right now," coach John Hynes said, "and it doesn't change our mindset."

Playoffs are a no-go, but the Wild still have other factors at stake.

"We're all competitive people," Bogosian said. "You don't just roll over and say, 'OK, we have X amount of games left.' We're all competitors at heart, and we'll compete right to the end.

"We're not going to sit here and make excuses or play the what-if game. We have to get ready to play against Vegas, and it's the pride, it's the culture — that's the stuff you're playing for."