ST. PAUL, Minnesota - Three first period goals from the Minnesota Wild built an obstacle that was too big for the Winnipeg Jets to overcome on Tuesday night, as the Wild handed the Jets a 5-1 setback at Xcel Energy Center.
Jacob Trouba scored the lone goal for the Jets, a shorthanded marker in the second period.
Following the loss that dropped the Jets to 46-30-4 and into a tie for the Central Division lead with the Nashville Predators, the Jets held a closed-door meeting.
"We want to be playing our best hockey this time of year and we're not quite there yet," said captain Blake Wheeler. "When it comes down to that, you want to get a team on the same page... Sometimes the best therapy for that is having a conversation about it.
"It's easy to say the right things. There is always a quality to what guys are saying. Everything we talk about is really heartfelt. I think it's a good step in the right direction."
Despite the Jets holding an early 7-2 advantage in shots on goal, a weird bounce put the Wild on top first. Zach Parise - who had missed the last four games with a lower-body injury - fired a shot that went off the stick of Tyler Myers, up in the air, and off the back of Eric Comrie into the net.
Parise wasn't done, as he cashed in on a loose puck in front of Comrie off the rush. Parise came in late after a back checking Bryan Little had tied up the stick of Eric Staal.
Video: POSTGAME | Paul Maurice
With 1:52 remaining in the first period, Victor Rask beat Comrie with a sharp angle shot from the left side, giving the Wild a 3-0 lead through 20 minutes.
"You get behind this team and it's tough," said Wheeler. "They sit back pretty well, structure pretty defensively and you put yourself in a pretty big hole. We just weren't able to claw our way back."
The first period was also costly in that the Jets lost Brandon Tanev to an upper-body injury after just 40 seconds of ice time.
Jets head coach Paul Maurice didn't have an update on the forward after the game.
As for what he saw from Comrie - who finished with 23 saves in his first NHL start this season, and fifth of his career - Maurice felt he battled back after a tough first period.
"I thought Eric made a couple of real good saves in the second," said Maurice. "We didn't have enough going. Maybe some of the things in how we tried to get it going was the crux of the concern about our game."
Video: WPG@MIN: Trouba pots SHG, Wheeler sets club record
The Minnesota lead grew to 4-0 with 9:31 to go in the second when Joel Eriksson-Ek fired a wrist shot from the high slot just under the bar on Comrie's stick side.
The Jets got on the board late in the second. Shortly after Devan Dubnyk made a post-to-post save to deny Wheeler on a shorthanded 2-on-1 chance, Trouba kept the puck in at the blue line and carved his way to the front of the net, sliding a backhand under Dubnyk for his seventh of the campaign.
Wheeler picked up an assist on the goal, his 70th helper of the season, which sets a new franchise mark for assists in a season.
Marcus Foligno rounded out the scoring for the Wild with 4:49 to go in regulation.
Video: POSTGAME | Blake Wheeler
Next up the Jets head to Colorado to take on the Avalanche on Thursday night. But before then, Wheeler believes the team needs to find a way to start "pulling the rope" in the same direction.
"We have to get back to work tomorrow and get a little bit of bounce back in our step," Wheeler said. "Things haven't been bouncing easy for us. Nothing has been easy for us. Those are all excuses.
"Our team needs to show a little bit of resiliency, a little bit of maturity. Come to work tomorrow, get a little bit better tomorrow, and regardless of what happens in these last two games, we have to have a game that we can identify going in to the playoffs.
"Get a little structure back, a little excitement and some enthusiasm back in our room. Hopefully we can string a couple together and get some confidence."