Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 3-1 loss against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena in Raleigh on Thursday night:
1. In a year where the Wild's franchise record book has been rewritten, it's time to add another entry after Mikael Granlund's short-handed goal in the first period.
While Granlund continues to rocket up the single-season scoring charts, Mikko Koivu assumed the top spot in one category after his pretty helper on the goal helped Minnesota dig out of an early hole.
After a slashing penalty put the Wild down a man for the second time of the period, Koivu and Granlund led a rush. Koivu chipped a pass over a defenseman's stick to spring Granlund for a quick break. He made a nice move at the net, beating Hurricanes goalie Eddie Lack with a forehand shot for his 24th goal.
Video: MIN@CAR: Granlund buries Koivu's nifty pass for SHG
The tally returned the team goal-scoring lead to Granlund after Eric Staal tied him during the third period in Washington on Tuesday.
For Koivu, it was his 22nd career short-handed point, which moved him ahead of Wes Walz for the most by a Wild player in franchise history.
2. With the game tied at 1 late in the third period, Carolina's Victor Rask scored the winning goal.
It was the 16th goal of the season for Rask, who wheeled out of the right corner and powered to the front of the net, slipping the puck through the five-hole of Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk.
Until that point, Minnesota (43-20-6) had done a serviceable job limiting scoring chances, but the Wild surrendered too much ice to Rask, who was able to work his way to the top of the crease before finding resistance.
"They never quit right down to the last second," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "The guys are feeling it. It's been a long trip. We had opportunities. We just didn't score."
The goal capped a tough road trip for Minnesota, which finished its five-game swing with just one victory. The Wild returns home to play four of its next five games on Xcel Energy Center ice beginning Saturday against the New York Rangers.
"We gotta bring it ourselves. It's nice to be in front of the home crowd, but we gotta bring it ourselves," said Wild forward Charlie Coyle. "It starts with us inside here. That's what we gotta do. We gotta bring our compete level, stick to our structure and turn this thing around. It's one game at a time."
Video: Locker Room Postgame at Carolina
3. The game marked the second trip back to Carolina (29-27-12) for Staal, who played in 909 games over 12 seasons with the Hurricanes after Carolina selected him second overall in the 2003 NHL Draft.
Staal was traded to the New York Rangers at the trade deadline last season before he signed a three-year contract with Minnesota over the summer.
The former Hurricanes captain is second in franchise history in goals, assists, points and game-winning goals.
"I played there a long time; I know how they play. They're tight, they're well coached, they work hard, they compete and they make it difficult for you," Staal said. "I thought we did the same. There wasn't a lot of room. Not like they had a ton of point-blank chances at all. We had, I thought, the better end of it in the third and we just gotta find a way to get one by them, and we didn't. They did."
• The game marked Boudreau's 750th in his NHL coaching career.
• It was the 900th NHL game for Wild defenseman Ryan Suter.
• Wild forward Charlie Coyle extended his consecutive games played streak to 300.
• Hurricanes forward Teuvo Teravainen scored an empty-net goal for the Hurricanes with 1:26 left.
• Lack finished with 31 saves, including 17 in the third period.
• Dubnyk had 21 saves for Minnesota.
• Combined with Chicago's 2-1 win in Ottawa, the Wild dropped three points behind the Blackhawks for first place in the Central Division. Minnesota has one game in hand.
• Attendance: 10,894
He said it
"We eliminated the shots. What'd they have, 23 shots today? And I bet you they had less than 10 scoring chances. And that's what you want to do defensively. We still made mistakes, and [on] our chances to score, we've got to start putting pucks in the net. If you score the first goal of the game, then you usually at least feeling good about yourself. You're not always playing catch-up. And lately we haven't scored the first goal of the game." -- Wild coach Bruce Boudreau
Video: Bruce Boudreau Postgame at Carolina
They said it
"I felt pretty good out there. I saw the puck well. It wasn't always pretty technically and everything like that, but I felt like I battled. It's two huge points for us." -- Hurricanes goaltender Eddie Lack
Dan's three stars
* Eddie Lack
** Victor Rask
*** Mikael Granlund