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Wild learns a tough 'lesson' in loss to Blues

Seven-game win streak snapped as Minnesota loses lead late

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe / Wild.com

ST. PAUL -- With only a handful of games remaining in the regular season, time is running out for the Wild in terms of sharpening its game ahead of the postseason.

Minnesota is headed to the Stanley Cup Playoffs after clinching a spot following its victory over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.

And after a stellar first 40 minutes on Wednesday, the Wild looked like a team destined to run its winning streak to eight games. 

But a heartbreaking third-period meltdown, one where Minnesota watched a two-goal lead fall by the wayside before surrendering the game-winning goal to the Blues with 23 seconds left, is one the Wild will try and flush in a hurry.

But not before trying to learn a thing or two from it.

Video: Players Postgame vs St. Louis

"Just got taught a lesson," said Wild forward Marcus Foligno. "I mean, that team doesn't quit. We just kinda get complacent and leave our [goaltender] out to dry. It's a crappy feeling, especially the way you lose with 20-something seconds left on the clock.

"We didn't do the little things right. They did the little things right. You just like to see a better effort from us in the third. We just gotta make sure that we forget about this one and come back angry and hungry tomorrow."

That's the good news. Minnesota won't have to sit on this loss long, as the Wild and Blues will play again on Thursday night right here at Xcel Energy Center.

Video: STL@MIN: Foligno wires a wrister to double lead

It's a game where Minnesota should have been trying to run its winning streak to nine games, as the Wild led 3-1 into the second intermission following a dominant second period where the Wild outshot the Blues 16-7.

Led by Foligno and his linemates Jordan Greenway and Joel Eriksson Ek, Minnesota was the far superior team through 40 minutes. 

That's what made Wednesday's loss all the more shocking. 

Video: Dean Evason postgame vs St. Louis

"Majority of the game we were real good. Had majority of the play, and we made some mistakes at the end. It's disappointing no question," said Wild coach Dean Evason. "We knew they were going to have a push in the third, no question. We fed it a little bit, took a penalty, and then we made some mistakes. They capitalized on that, caught a couple of bounces obviously, a couple of breaks. But they capitalized on some mistakes we made as well.

"We've found ways to win hockey games like this. Tonight we found a way to lose a hockey game like this."

The Wild expected a push by the desperate Blues, who are fighting for their playoff lives. While Minnesota has a postseason spot locked up, St. Louis began the night locked in a battle with the Arizona Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings for the fourth and final playoff spot in the West Division. 

Video: STL@MIN: Eriksson Ek converts rebound to extend lead

With five of its final nine games remaining against the Blues, the Wild won't have much time to play complacent hockey, which it did in the third period on Wednesday.

On this night, it paid the price.

Video: STL@MIN: Brodin hammers pass to kick off scoring

"We still have a lot of games and practice to still get ready for the playoffs, but this was a big game," Foligno said. "We wanted to catch Colorado and put heat on them, and these guys are trying to fight for their playoff lives, too. We have a lot to play for. 

"I know we have an 'X' next to our name in the standings, but it doesn't mean crap. We've got to come ready to work and play a full 60. Playoffs are just going to get harder. So we learn from this, and we get better from it."


Related:

Postgame Hat Trick: Blues 4, Wild 3

Video: MIN Recap: Foligno has goal, assist in 4-3 home loss

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