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Wild eager to 'flip the page' on a disappointing October

Minnesota finishes season's first month with loss Wednesday night in St. Louis

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe /

ST. LOUIS -- After a disappointing and frustrating first month of the season, one that saw it win just four of a possible 13 games, including one of nine away from home, there's only one thing the Wild can do.

"Flip the page and flip the calendar," said Wild forward Zach Parise following a 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues at Enterprise Center on Wednesday night. "Let's start over in November."

There's a belief inside the dressing room that despite the record and the place in the standings, the Wild has the ability to go on some sort of run.

Following a miserable first couple of games to start the season, the Wild has played better in spurts the past few weeks. But over time, coach Bruce Boudreau has been trying to plug emerging holes in the dam.

Tweet from @mnwild: Hear from Mats Zuccarello after tonight's game in St. Louis.#MINvsSTL

Tuesday night in Dallas, the Wild played a mostly outstanding first two periods, scoring three times, including twice on the power play, but a defensive zone breakdown late in the second period turned things.

Dallas scored five times over the final 20 minutes to spoil what was a strong road game for 38 minutes. 

Wednesday, the Wild had shored up its defensive zone coverage, but couldn't buy a goal. 

Case in point: Parise's wraparound chance in the final 20 seconds of regulation.

Just 24 hours removed from watching four pucks deflect into its own goal off Wild skates and legs, Parise banked his own chance off Alexander Steen in front of the Blues goal, only to see the puck carom right into the waiting glove of goaltender Jordan Binnington. 

Tweet from @mnwild: Hear from Bruce Boudreau after #MINvsSTL

"Last night, that was going off our guy and into the net," Boudreau lamented.

Minnesota outshot St. Louis by a 36-26 margin, and played one of its strongest games of the season, certainly on the road, but again left an opponent's barn without the most valuable prize: two points at the end of the night.

"Nobody plays good enough when we lose. Especially yourself. You want to figure out ways to play better," said Wild forward Mats Zuccarello. "We played a good road game today and still end up with zero points. That's frustrating."

Zuccarello was able to score his first goal in a Wild sweater on a nice play in front of Binnington midway through the second period.

Video: MIN@STL: Zuccarello buries Staal's feed in tight

Less than two minutes after St. Louis captured the lead on a goal by Sammy Blais, Zuccarello helped stem the tide by putting home a bouncing puck just a few feet in front of the blue paint. 

It was a nice turn of events for the Wild, which has struggled both in second periods, and in limiting the damage opponents have inflicted to just one goal. But it wasn't enough to help open the floodgates against Binnington, who was mostly sensational in making 35 saves.

"They're frustrated because they work real hard, but they're not getting the results right now," Boudreau said. "People will talk about our road record, but we played, I thought, five really good periods out of six and could have easily won both games if we would have had a good sixth period. 

"But if they're gonna try that hard and keep that up, they're gonna win some hockey games. When the schedule turns a little bit in our favor, they'll be there. I think this team is capable of putting a couple of strings together with a lot of wins. And that's what we're gonna need because we're behind the eight ball right now."


Postgame Hat Trick: Blues 2, Wild 1

Video: MIN Recap: Zuccarello scores lone goal in 2-1 loss

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