ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild couldn't overcome a sluggish start in a 3-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators at Xcel Energy Center on Thursday. Cody Ceci's goal with 3:57 remaining was the game-winner and Minnesota's six-game winning streak ended.
The Wild (38-29-11) remained five points ahead of the idle Colorado Avalanche for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. Minnesota missed an opportunity to gain on the Nashville Predators for the first wild card; the Predators, who lead the Wild by four points, lost 5-2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday.
"It's unfortunate, but I think you have to look at the game as a whole," Wild forward Zach Parise, who scored his 299th career NHL goal said. "Did we play well enough to win the game? I don't know. We had a chance to get a point out of it but I just don't think we played as well as we needed to."
Forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau had a goal and two assists for the Senators (36-33-9), who have won two-straight games and were eliminated from postseason contention on Wednesday. Goaltender Craig Anderson made 23 saves for his 30th victory.
Video: OTT@MIN: Karlsson buries puck past Dubnyk
"We have some guys that have played a lot of hockey lately, and in a [second night of a] back-to-back, I thought we did a real good job of sticking with [the game plan]," Senators coach Dave Cameron said. "We got some puck luck on Ceci's goal. It's a nice win for us."
Ceci's bad-angle shot deflected off Erik Haula in front and slipped through Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk's five-hole for his ninth goal.
"I was trying to pass it up to Bobby [Ryan]. It just hit their man and ended up going five-hole," Ceci said. "It was a fortunate bounce, but I'll take it."
Matt Dumba took a high-sticking penalty with 1:58 remaining as the Wild were trying for the tying goal. It was their first penalty of the game. Minnesota pulled Dubnyk with 57 seconds remaining to make it 5-on-5 but couldn't generate momentum.
Video: OTT@MIN: Pageau redirects puck to beat Dubnyk
The Wild went 0-for-2 with the man advantage, including defenseman Ryan Suter's shot off the post in the third period that would have given them a one-goal lead. Later in the same power play, Dumba shot the puck into the net for an apparent goal, but play had been blown dead for goaltender interference.
"We didn't come out with the strongest game," Wild coach John Torchetti said. "You can't come play with, really, one line. We had three lines that didn't really do a good job tonight. We didn't play a solid 60 minutes."
Dubnyk finished with 19 saves and lost in regulation for the first time since March 6.
Early in the second, Erik Karlsson scored in the top right corner of the net for a 1-0 Senators lead, connecting on a quick snap shot from the right circle for his 15th goal at 3:44.
Video: OTT@MIN: Anderson robs Pominville with glove save
Parise tied the game less than eight minutes later after a point shot by defenseman Marco Scandella was stopped by Anderson. The puck laid in the crease for Parise, who pushed it into the net for his 25th goal at 11:13.
Pageau gave the Senators the lead at 14:34, deflecting a soft backhand shot by Bobby Ryan through Dubnyk's five-hole for his 18th goal.
Haula's goal at 4:33 of the third which tied the game 2-2, came off a backhand pass through the crease by Jason Pominville and extended Haula's scoring streak to 10 games, the longest active streak in the NHL. It's also tied for the longest in team history, matching Andrew Brunette's mark in 2002.
"We have a lot of guys who have to up their ante," Torchetti said. "There's no nights off in this League, it's the best league in the world. We gotta be ready to battle and I didn't like our battle level."
Video: OTT@MIN: Parise jams home rebound with one hand
Minnesota was without forward Thomas Vanek, who was a late scratch because of an upper-body injury. The Wild also lost defenseman Jared Spurgeon to an apparent lower-body injury on the second shift of the game after he blocked a shot from the point by Ryan.
Spurgeon and Vanek will each accompany the Wild on their two-game road trip that begins Friday against the Detroit Red Wings.
Ottawa played without its second-leading goal scorer Mark Stone, who was injured against the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday by a hit from Dustin Byfuglien.
Video: Ceci's late goal leads Senators to win over Wild