Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 6-3 loss against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center in Dallas on Tuesday night:
1. Minnesota couldn't hold onto a three-goal lead.
Ryan Suter's goal with 5:34 remaining in the second period gave the Wild a 3-0 lead, and it appeared Minnesota would cruise to an easy victory.
Not so fast.
Alexander Radulov scored in the final minute of the second period to make it 3-1 and you just had that feeling that would be the spark that would finally jump start the Stars.
It turned out to be exactly correct.
Dallas was all over Minnesota in the opening minutes of the third period, and eventually broke the dam with a goal by Roope Hintz on the power play, a shot that appeared to hit Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon on its way to the goal.
That would be a common theme.
Joe Pavelski tied the game at 9:36, but he did it in name only. His centering pass deflected past Alex Stalock after a perfect redirection off Jordan Greenway's stick at 9:36.
Just under two minutes after that, Radulov gave Dallas its first lead when his centering pass bounced off Jonas Brodin in front and past Stalock.
Five goals in the period, three off Wild players and into the goal. Regardless of how they got there, the loss Tuesday might be the most painful of the season, especially considering how dominant it was over the first 39 minutes of the contest.
2. Eric Staal celebrated his 35th birthday in style.
The veteran centerman, who has caught fire of late, picked the pocket of a Stars defenseman behind the cage and found Jason Zucker in front for the game's first goal just 2:50 into the contest.
Video: MIN@DAL: Zucker buries quick shot from slot
But Staal wasn't done.
Later in the first, Staal accepted a pass from Mats Zuccarello near the left circle and skated towards the crease, firing a shot through the wickets of Dallas goaltender Ben Bishop for his fourth goal of the season and second point of the night.
Video: MIN@DAL: Staal snaps home power-play goal
Staal, who had one assist in his first seven games, now has at least a point in four of his past five games, tallying multiple points in two of those games.
3. The Wild's power play was on point.
Going against a team that has had its struggles on the power play all season (3-for-36 this month entering the game), Minnesota was able to take advantage of two man advantages, nearly equalling Dallas' total from the entire campaign thus far.
Staal's goal in the first period came near the end of a tripping penalty by Radek Faksa, while a point shot by Suter late in the second period took advantage of ... a tripping penalty by Faksa.
Video: MIN@DAL: Suter wires home one-timer for PPG
Dallas would eventually convert on one of its own power-play chances during a third-period rally that saw Minnesota's two-goal lead evaporate.