The Wild picked up its pursuit of a playoff spot after an eight-day break propped up by the cushion from a three-game win streak, but since the team resumed playing, all it’s done is lose.
And after dropping its fourth straight, a horde of clubs are now nipping at its heels — pressure that will be difficult to hold off if the Wild continues to sleepwalk through games like it did Thursday at Xcel Energy Center in a listless 4-1 loss to the Oilers.
“It’s either find your sense of urgency and do what you have to do to win,” coach Bruce Boudreau said, “or bad things are going to happen.”
The Wild holds the top wild-card spot in the Western Conference, but five teams chasing the Wild grabbed at least a point on the same night the team sagged against one of those challengers. That trimmed its cushion to just two points only hours after General Manager Paul Fenton made it clear he’s still evaluating the roster’s play to determine his course of action ahead of the NHL trade deadline this month.
“Everyone wants to be here in this room and win,” winger Marcus Foligno said. “But if we keep putting up efforts like this, it’s pretty easy for the GM to make a phone call.”
It was also a poor first impression of what the rest of the Wild’s season could look like without captain Mikko Koivu, who missed his first game since he tore the anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his right knee.