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Wild players’ demeanor, like team’s record, is also taking a hit

February 19, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS — The ramifications of the Wild’s current plight have been minimal in the standings, dropping it down the pecking order but not out of a playoff spot.

But there have been repercussions on the team’s demeanor, which took another hit Sunday in a 4-0 shellacking by the Blues at Xcel Energy Center that extended the Wild’s slump to 1-5-3.

“There’s a lot of things looming over this group,” winger Marcus Foligno said. “I think we’re feeling sorry for ourselves, that the guys are injured, and that’s wrong. We’re doing a discredit to those guys by not performing and stepping up. You lose your captain [Mikko Koivu]. You lose Matt Dumba. It is what it is, and you have to move on. It just seems like we’re just feeling sorry for ourselves. The on-ice product kind of shows that. We just need to get out of this funk.”

What’s also hanging over the Wild is the NHL trade deadline, which arrives next Monday.

After the game, coach Bruce Boudreau reiterated the team’s goal is to make the playoffs, but how General Manager Paul Fenton affects that ambition is unclear —uncertainty players seem to be processing.

“Paul’s got to do what he’s got to do, but you’d just like to see a little more effort, a little more urgency, this time of the year,” Foligno said. “It just seems like we’re waiting for it, and unfortunately you get bit like that. We need these games. I wish it was something that would be done tomorrow, the deadline, just so we could move on. But we’re definitely not making it easy on our GM.”

Change in net

Boudreau started backup Alex Stalock in goal over No. 1 Devan Dubnyk, notifying Stalock on Sunday ahead of puck drop.

The decision stemmed from Stalock’s success earlier in the season in a similar situation against the Jets and Boudreau feeling the players would be eager to play for a likable teammate in Stalock.

But the assignment was also a reflection of Dubnyk’s recent rough patch, as he’s given up 10 goals in his past two starts.

“Sometimes you have to make them accountable a little bit,” Boudreau said.

Mistakes off the bat

After getting caught out of position on the Blues’ first power-play goal from winger Vladimir Tarasenko, Foligno capped off a rough period by committing a hooking penalty that put St. Louis back on the power play — which the Blues capitalized on again.

“The first one’s my fault with Tarasenko. Kind of got caught a little bit too high,” Foligno said. “Obviously, the second one, kind of a cheapie hook and the ref in the back caught it. They’re clicking on the power play now. If we get the first period back, it’s a different game.”