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Wild continue to stumble into Stanley Cup Playoffs

Fall to Red Wings in overtime for third straight loss after clinching berth Saturday

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / NHL.com Columnist

DETROIT -- The Minnesota Wild focused on the positive after a 3-2 overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena on Sunday.

The Wild (44-24-7), who clinched a berth into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference on Saturday and are second in the Central Division, fell to 1-7-1 in their past nine games and 3-10-1 in their past 14.

 

WATCH: All Wild vs. Red Wings highlights

 

Minnesota gave up leads of 1-0 and 2-1 before Andreas Athanasiou scored 1:52 into overtime.

But the Wild played from ahead and allowed 19 shots, three in the third period.

"That's the best game we've played in a month," Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We played the right way today. We got it deep when we had to get it deep. You didn't see the constant odd-man rushes against for the most part. You saw playing the smart way. We had I thought good chances to score and win the game, but we didn't."

The Wild have seven games left before the playoffs. They once led the Western Conference but are seven points behind the Chicago Blackhawks and eight ahead of the Nashville Predators in the division.

"We've got to figure it out," Wild forward Zach Parise said. "We used to have comfortable leads above teams in the standings, but now all of a sudden that gap has closed. We've got to keep winning to get home ice. We've got to straighten it out."

Mike Green and Tomas Tatar also scored for the Red Wings (30-32-12), who are 15th in the Eastern Conference and on the verge of missing the playoffs for the first time since 1990.

Eric Staal and Nate Prosser scored for the Wild.

Video: MIN@DET: Prosser's wrister from the point finds twine

"This is a better effort," Staal said. "You have to feel better about our game as a whole. If you've watched us for the last few, we've been chasing games for sure, and tonight, we were initiating a little bit more, a little bit more on our toes. With some breaks, we would have extended the lead a little bit more."

Staal put the Wild ahead 1-0 at 9:43 of the first period. Zach Parise chipped the puck past Danny DeKeyser in the neutral zone ahead for Staal, who outskated Frans Nielsen on the rush and beat Jimmy Howard stick side.

Green tied it 1-1 at 19:41 with a shot from the left point that flew through traffic cleanly and eluded Devan Dubnyk.

Video: MIN@DET: Green's wrister from the point beats Dubnyk

Prosser put the Wild ahead 2-1 at 16:14 of the second period. He took a wrist shot from the right point. Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin stretched out his stick to knock down the puck but deflected it in off the inside of the right post instead. The goal was Prosser's first in his past 107 games.

"Got lucky," Prosser said. "It was nice to get on the board."

Tatar tied it 2-2 on the power play 55 seconds into the third period with a one-timer from the right circle into the top right corner of the net.

Video: MIN@DET: Tatar snipes a PPG top-shelf on Dubnyk

 

Goal of the game

Athanasiou took a lead pass from Gustav Nyquist, broke away and deked. As Dubnyk tried a diving poke check, Athanasiou stickhandled around his pads and slid the puck into the net.

Video: MIN@DET: Athanasiou dekes out Dubnyk for OT winner

 

Save of the game

Howard stopped Erik Haula seconds before Athanasiou scored. Nyquist collected the rebound and made the pass to Athanasiou.

Video: MIN@DET: Howard denies Haula on two-on-one in OT

 

Highlight of the game

Howard stopped Staal in the final minute the third period when Staal was streaking in ahead of Green and Niklas Kronwall.

Video: MIN@DET: Howard denies Staal in final minute

 

Unsung performance of the game

Prosser broke up a potential breakaway in the second period with the score tied 1-1, muscling Athanasiou off the puck and preventing a shot.

 

They said it

"Forget about what's gone on in the last couple weeks here and just play our game. It's not going to be perfect every night, but if we work and work and get pucks deep and stick to the identity that we've created this year, that's what we need to do to build towards playoffs here." -- Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk

 

"It looked really nice and nasty. Good for him. He has tremendous speed, and it's great to see him use it." -- Red Wings forward Tomas Tatar on Andreas Athanasiou's overtime goal

 

Need to know

Wild forward Chris Stewart was scratched for the first time this season. He has five points (two goals, three assists) in his past 25 games. … Red Wings center Darren Helm (lower body) did not play for the fourth straight game. This was the first of three games in three days for the Red Wings, who will visit the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday and Tuesday. Their game at Carolina on Dec. 19 was rescheduled because of problems with the ice.

 

What's next

Red Wings: At the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday (7 p.m. ET; FS-CR, FS-D+, NHL.TV)

Wild: Host the Washington Capitals on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; NHLN, FS-N, CSN-DC, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Athanasiou's OT winner powers Wings over Wild, 3-2

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