The ramifications of the Wild’s current plight have been minimal in the standings, dropping it down the pecking order but not out of a playoff spot.
But there have been repercussions on the team’s demeanor, which took another hit Sunday in a 4-0 shellacking by the Blues at Xcel Energy Center that extended the Wild’s slump to 1-5-3.
“There’s a lot of things looming over this group,” winger Marcus Foligno said. “I think we’re feeling sorry for ourselves, that the guys are injured, and that’s wrong. We’re doing a discredit to those guys by not performing and stepping up. You lose your captain [Mikko Koivu]. You lose Matt Dumba. It is what it is, and you have to move on. It just seems like we’re just feeling sorry for ourselves. The on-ice product kind of shows that. We just need to get out of this funk.”
What’s also hanging over the Wild is the NHL trade deadline, which arrives next Monday.
After the game, coach Bruce Boudreau reiterated the team’s goal is to make the playoffs, but how General Manager Paul Fenton affects that ambition is unclear — uncertainty players seem to be processing.
“Paul’s got to do what he’s got to do, but you’d just like to see a little more effort, a little more urgency, this time of the year,” Foligno said. “It just seems like we’re waiting for it, and unfortunately you get bit like that. We need these games. I wish it was something that would be done tomorrow, the deadline, just so we could move on. But we’re definitely not making it easy on our GM.”
Change in net
Boudreau started backup Alex Stalock in goal over No. 1 Devan Dubnyk, notifying Stalock on Sunday ahead of puck drop.
The decision stemmed from Stalock’s success earlier in the season in a similar situation against the Jets and Boudreau feeling the players would be eager to play for a likable teammate in Stalock.
But the assignment was also a reflection of Dubnyk’s recent rough patch, as he has given up a total of 10 goals in his past two starts.
“Sometimes you have to make them accountable a little bit,” Boudreau said.
Mistakes off the bat
After getting caught out of position on the Blues’ first power-play goal from winger Vladimir Tarasenko, Foligno capped off a rough period by committing a hooking penalty that put St. Louis back on the power play — which the Blues capitalized on again.
“The first one’s my fault with Tarasenko. Kind of got caught a little bit too high,” Foligno said. “Obviously, the second one, kind of a cheapie hook and the ref in the back caught it. They’re clicking on the power play now. If we get the first period back, it’s a different game.”
Before his penalty, Foligno tried to ignite a fight with Joel Edmundson after the St. Louis defenseman hit Zach Parise along the boards. Edmundson wouldn’t oblige.
“Just trying to show emotion,” Foligno said. “They were a little bit smarter with the lead. You hit our top player, Parise, and you’ve got to answer for it or do something for him. It’s something we need more of on this team and just something we’re lacking a little bit of, and it shows. It seems like we’re slouching when we get behind. Tough to create chances and momentum with our team.”
Winger Pontus Aberg didn’t suit up vs. the Blues, but he has been activated from injured reserve after missing seven games because of a lower-body injury. His addition puts the Wild active roster at the 23-man limit.