The Wild's company line in defeat Tuesday night was that the situation now calls for desperation, which apparently is a mythical valve that can only be turned on when a team faces an elimination game in a playoff series.
Too bad the Wild didn't show more desperation at the start of the third period in Game 5, rather than engage in absent-minded puck watching as the Blues revved up their attack.
"We're going to play our best game," coach Dean Evason said with his team facing a win-or-else Game 6 in St. Louis on Thursday night. "All the cliches that you want to throw out there."
The Wild doesn't need cliches or cool slogans at this point. It needs a spark, the type of momentum-changer that often accompanies a change at goaltender.
It's time to give Cam Talbot a chance in goal. See if that move can light a fire that brings the series back to St. Paul for a Game 7 Saturday.
It's now or never.
Evason has gone out of his way not to criticize the play of Marc-Andre Fleury, which is understandable since the Wild's problems in three losses haven't been limited to one person or one position. But Evason's insistence that Fleury has been "fantastic" is a classic example of overstatement by a coach wanting to deflect scrutiny. Fleury has just been average — worse than that in Game 5 — and certainly not "fantastic."
"His play has been real good," Evason said. "The pucks that have gone in the net he hasn't seen."
Yes, Fleury is a future Hall of Famer and the Wild made an aggressive trade to acquire him, but the goalie starter shouldn't be written in permanent marker. Talbot deserves a shot. He earned it with his red-hot closing stretch to the regular season (13-0-3 in final 16 starts).
Are Evason and General Manager Bill Guerin honestly willing to risk losing a playoff series without at least giving Talbot a chance? It's not like he's an unproven youngster or unqualified backup.
Switching goalies at this juncture brings risk, for sure. Talbot hasn't played in a game in two weeks. He might be rusty, not in game rhythm. Asking him to be sharp in an elimination Game 6 on the road in a loud, hostile arena is a tall order.
If the move backfired, Evason likely would hear criticism for not making a change sooner and putting Talbot in a tough spot.
Don't get hung up on that potential outcome. Consider it from Talbot's perspective.
He's a veteran who played well enough down the stretch to earn the starting nod in the playoffs. Every competitor wants to play and help the team. Nobody enjoys having to sit and watch.
Talbot has been a consummate professional since Fleury arrived, but human nature suggests he's probably a little annoyed that he hasn't played in this series. Annoyed and motivated to show that he belongs out there. The brain trust should trust that he will rise to the moment and deliver.
Inserting Talbot could serve as a galvanizing force that makes everyone else elevate their own performance. The Blues changed goalies after losing Game 3 and have won back-to-back games behind Jordan Binnington, who has given up only four goals total since taking over.
A laundry list of issues in Game 5 wasted a performance from Kirill Kaprizov that left you feeling as if you were witnessing something truly historic.
Kevin Fiala is still searching for his first goal of the series and clearly is pressing. The defense had inexcusable lapses and there were too many passengers in the lineup while Kaprizov attempted to carry the team by himself.
Evason promised lineup changes for Game 6 without giving specifics. That news is hardly surprising based on how poorly his team played Tuesday.
Standing pat cannot be an option. The Wild needs a jolt to keep its season alive. Making a change in goal is the most obvious source to provide it.