Dallas came north and put a star-studded whooping on the Wild in a critical Western Conference game Thursday night.
Minnesota, fighting for a playoff spot, was lifeless from start to finish.
They had just one shot on goal in the first 14 minutes of the first period, gave up three goals in a 2:22 span of the second period, and while trailing 3-1 in the third period they went approximately 13 more minutes without a shot on goal.
All of that while Dallas lost star goalie Ben Bishop to a lower-body injury, essentially removing a brick wall – Bishop hasn't allowed a goal in 224 minutes and 20 seconds – from the crease.
“We don’t have enough jam right now," said Wild veteran Marcus Foligno, via The Athletic. "I think that’s the biggest thing. You’ve got to have heart, and we have no heart right now.”
Zach Parise didn't question anyone's heart, simply describing the current three-game losing streak as being "out of sync."
Head coach Bruce Boudreau opted against ripping players, although his way of doing so was artful.
"You guys have seen it all. If I'm going to say anything, it would be ripping players, but we were all I think watching the same game, and I don't want to rip players at this stage," Boudreau said.
"We dodged a bullet in the first period. We talked about dodging a bullet and to pick it up and we didn't, and then you find yourself [down] 3-nothing. It's a tough hole when they have the puck the whole night."
Critical loss in tight playoff race
The loss continues a bad start to a season-long five straight games at Xcel Energy Center, which has been a house of horrors for the Wild, who are 6-13-4 in their last 23 at home.
A win would've pushed Minnesota within one point of Dallas for the top wild-card spot, but the loss, coupled with Arizona's win over Anaheim, has the Wild three points behind Arizona for the second wild-card spot with just 11 games to go.
"It pisses you off. I've only made the playoffs once in my career. To be in a playoff spot for most of the season and now being out of it, it kind of looks like it's slipping away," said Foligno. We've got to figure it out. We still have games left to turn it around, but we keep saying that. We've been saying that a lot this year."
Minnesota has a huge back-to-back at home against the Rangers and Islanders Saturday and Sunday, followed by another big wild-card race matchup Tuesday at home against Colorado.
The good news is that Arizona, after hosting Edmonton on Saturday, travels across the country for four games on the East Coast next week.
The Coyotes have won 13 of 17 and the Wild need them to cool off or the narrative going into the offseason could be how the Coyotes rode the back of ex-Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper to end MInnesota's streak of six consecutive playoff appearances.