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Wild Wants To Use Energy Wisely During Slide

by Evan Sporer / Minnesota Wild



NEW YORK – In the midst of a slide during which Head Coach Mike Yeo said on Tuesday, " … we're finding different ways to lose hockey games," the Minnesota Wild focused on what it would take to get out of that funk on Wednesday.

The Wild took the ice at Madison Square Garden for an upbeat practice, attempting to keep the focus positive and its energy in the appropriate avenues as it continues to attempt to shake out of its longest slump of the season.

"You're always going to have negative thoughts creep into your mind when things aren't going well; that's just human nature," Yeo said. "We're a group that's aware of that, and we're a group that has the character to get through that, but that said, it's not easy."

What began as an offensive drought has now featured two losses in its past three where Minnesota has scored three goals in each game, including on Tuesday against the Islanders, 5-3.

While those losses have featured different problems, it's been a consistent theme for Minnesota since its slide began in early January.

"It's not a different issue," Ryan Suter said. "We got a little loose, and (the Islanders) capitalized on a couple of chances.

"We finally scored some goals. Now we just have to put it all together."

But the mental component is something the Wild knows can be a detriment to its game, but only if it allows it to be one.

"We just don't have that confidence that we did at the beginning of the year that, when you have that confidence, you can get away with having a mishap, or a couple throughout the game," Suter said.

It's why the loss on Tuesday isn't any more or less frustrating than previous losses. Three goals-for would have been enough offense for a Wild win two weeks ago, but none of that matters now.

"Every game is different, so you can't really look at last week and say it should be one way or the other," Jason Zucker said. "We just have to make sure that we're bearing down defensively and offensively, and doing what we can."

So taking all those emotions, and whatever frustration is mounting, the Wild is trying to harness that energy into a successful stretch run that ends with a trip to the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"We've got games left, and we're not in a position where we're happy in the standings, but we know we have to jump ahead of some teams, and we know we can do that," Jarret Stoll said. "We have to be positive and confident about it, and it starts with one game, getting a win, however it may be."

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