There was an opportunity for the Minnesota Wild to take back a playoff position on Thursday.
Then the puck dropped and the New Jersey Devils surged out to an early lead and things got progressively worse for the Wild from there.
Minnesota suffered a 7-4 loss to the Devils, a team that doesn’t score much and is struggling to keep its hopes alive in the Eastern playoff race. The loss keeps the Wild one point back of the Colorado Avalanche for the final Wild Card spot in the West. Both teams have 11 games remaining on their respective schedules.
Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk was pulled after allowing three goals on eight shots — two of those goals came less than two minutes into the game — in the first period, as the Devils opened up a 3-1 lead. The third goal was the back-breaker.
The Wild had just cut the deficit to one goal at that point, but the comeback bid took a hit before the end of the opening period as Reid Boucher scored for New Jersey.
The Devils just kept adding from there.
Here’s an example of what Minnesota’s head coach John Torchetti had to say following such a result: