SEATTLE — There’s very clearly a loss from this season that burns the Minnesota Wild more than the others.
Though the Wild understand there are going to be ups and downs over the course of an 82-game NHL schedule, they can’t seem to get over their road loss to the Seattle Kraken on Oct. 28.
Never mind that the Wild (9-4-0) have also dropped games to Nashville, Colorado and most recently Vegas. As far as alternate captain Marcus Foligno is concerned, the loss to the Kraken (4-9-1) was unacceptable because of the way it went down.
The Wild jumped out to an early lead in that game before losing to the expansion Kraken 4-1. Ever since, the Wild have had Saturday’s rematch at Climate Pledge Arena circled on the calendar.
“We want to redeem ourselves,” Foligno said. “Obviously an ugly game there. We want to have a good start. I know we scored the first goal there and should’ve had (another goal). But we need to follow up with a better effort.”
That other goal Foligno referenced originally was credited to him before the officials took it away. They ruled that Foligno kicked the puck into the net, and that proved to be a turning point in the game as the Wild never scored again.
There’s reason to believe the Wild will respond with a solid effort in Saturday’s rematch. Aside from a tough stretch against the Kraken and Avalanche last month, the Wild haven’t lost back-to-back games any other time this season.
That’s a testament to the leadership in the locker room.
“Just every night looking at it as a new challenge,” captain Jared Spurgeon said. “I think win or lose we don’t look at the last game that much other than maybe the next day in video and stuff to learn from. Just the group that we have and the experience we gained from last season helps a lot.”
As far as leadership goes, it doesn’t get much better than alternate captain Matt Dumba taking accountability for his actions in Thursday’s loss to the Golden Knights. He coughed up a puck in the neutral zone, and a few seconds later, the puck was in the back of the net. That proved to be decisive goal.
“Just a (expletive) bad play,” Dumba said after the game. “I’ve got to be better. That starts versus Seattle.”
Frankly, it starts with everyone in the locker room.
As much as Dumba deserves credit for shouldering the blame, the Wild have to be better as a whole. They started way too slow against the Golden Knights, and that’s not going to fly against the Kraken.
“Our start was not good, and it hurt us,” Foligno said. “Hopefully we can just really come ready on Saturday and make this road trip a positive.”