Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 4-0 loss against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona on Sunday afternoon:
1. Minnesota couldn't get the offense going.
Scoring has been a problem lately for the Wild and it was again on Sunday. It had a 3-on-1 rush in the first period and wasn't able to generate as much as a shot on goal, thanks in part to a slashing penalty.
Unfortunately for Minnesota, it couldn't get anything going on the power play either, which contributed a pair of goals in a win Friday in Las Vegas.
Darcy Kuemper made 39 saves for the Coyotes as Minnesota was blanked for the third time in the past 20 days. The Wild has scored just 15 goals over that span (10 games) with five of those coming in one game, a 5-2 win against the Rangers on March 16.
It certainly wasn't for a lack of opportunities: Minnesota finished with a 39-23 advantage on the shot chart. It just couldn't find the finish it needed.
2. The final minute of the second period seemed emblematic of the season as a whole.
Scoring chances weren't a problem, as the Wild piled up shots and quality looks at the net. For a three or four minute stretch, Arizona had trouble just getting the puck out of its defensive zone.
Then, following a television timeout, Brainerd-raised Josh Archibald came down the right side of the ice, fought through a Joel Eriksson Ek poke check and roofed a shot past Devan Dubnyk.
Just like that, all the momentum the Wild built was gone in a snap, and Minnesota's one-goal deficit was now two. Archibald's tally, which came with 43 seconds left in the period, was a devastating blow to the Wild's hopes to rally from a goal down.
3. Minnesota faces a steep, uphill climb to the playoffs.
Nobody was mathematically eliminated on Sunday, but the Wild's hopes of reaching the postseason for a seventh consecutive season took a big hit with the loss to Arizona.
The Wild has three games remaining in the regular season and trails Colorado, currently the second wild card, by four points in the standings (the Avalanche also have a game in hand).
Minnesota, which could have jumped ahead of Arizona with a regulation victory, now trails the Coyotes by three points.
Before the game, Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said a victory on Sunday meant his team would need to win three or four games and get a little bit of help ... but that a loss meant running the table and needing a bunch of assistance.
Well, the Wild is likely going to have to win three games and then get a boatload of help from teams like Winnipeg, who play both Arizona and Colorado, as well as St. Louis, Edmonton and San Jose (left on Colorado's docket) and Los Angeles and Vegas (left on Arizona's).
It's not impossible, but it's not going to be easy.
Minnesota's climb begins with taking care of its own business, however, a challenge that continues against the Jets in St. Paul on Tuesday night.