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Wild end '14 with a whimper, lose to Columbus 3-1

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New Year's Eve got off to a promising start for the Minnesota Wild, who scored first in Wednesday night's contest in Columbus. But that was the only scoring the Wild would do in their 3-1 loss to the Blue Jackets.

Minnesota's power play has had some issues this season, ranking among the least productive in the NHL, the Associated Press says. So it seemed encouraging late in the first period when Zach Parise one-timed a pass from Mikko Koivu and beat Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky while the Wild held a man advantage.

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Bobrovsky slammed the gate after that, though, making 29 saves.

Kevin Connauton scored one goal and assisted on another for the Blue Jackets, who are hitting their stride after an injury-plagued start to the season. Columbus went 10-1-1 in December.

The Wild were coming off a road win at Winnipeg but were unable to start a streak. The Star Tribune reports that since Nov. 20 the Wild have had six chances at a second straight win, but have been unable to get any traction.

Despite the loss, goaltender Darcy Kuemper got some good reviews in net, making 23 saves.

Before the game the Wild announced they activated goalie Niklas Backstrom, who had missed a few games with an injury. John Curry was returned to Iowa to make room on the roster.

The Wild play four of their next five games in St. Paul, beginning Friday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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