PHILADELPHIA -- The Minnesota Wild could not have tripped into the Christmas break in a worse way.
With Mike Yeo's stated goal last week to enter the three-day holiday hiatus "feeling good about our game," the Wild scored four goals in three consecutive losses, the latest being a 4-1 defeat Monday night to the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Wild, the NHL's 29th-ranked offense, has scored nine goals in a stretch of eight losses in nine road games (1-7-1) and 22 goals in the past 15 games overall.
"I'm not going to try to paint a rosy picture, and I'm not going to make any excuses," Yeo said. "Flat out, we need to better. It's every one of us; it starts with me.
"This is not us. There's no way we can accept this. It's not us, and we have to fix it. With that said, this is the same group that will fix it. I have no doubt. Am I worried? No. Ticked off? Yeah, that we're in this funk. But I also don't have any doubts that we'll fix it. This is the same group that raised the expectations, this is the same group that got us to a point where we were in a good spot and this is the same group that's going to get us out of it."
From Oct. 22-Nov. 23, the Wild reeled off a 12-2-1 run to climb to fifth in the West. It has since gone 5-9-1 and slipped to ninth.
The road swing out east began with the team divulging that its backbone, Josh Harding, didn't accompany the club as he altered his treatment for multiple sclerosis. It ended with its first-line left wing, Zach Parise, being sidelined by a lower-body injury.
It sounds like he is still hampered by the foot injury sustained at the start of the Wild's plummet 15 games ago.
"Good time for the break," center Kyle Brodziak said. "We need to consistently be better. We need to dig deep. It's a good time to have a few days to reflect and try to reset our mind."
For a team as crippled as the Wild admits it is mentally, things could not have started worse. The Flyers scored on their first shot when defenseman Luke Schenn blew a shot by Niklas Backstrom just 1:52 in.
Ten seconds into an ensuing power play, Claude Giroux began a tic-tac-toe that was finished by Wayne Simmonds.
But the Wild earned a two-man advantage as Philadelphia took penalties 20 seconds apart. With nine seconds left in the 5-on-3, Jason Pominville connected with Mikael Granlund, who one-timed it perfectly for his third goal. It was the Wild's first goal on seven two-man advantages this season.
But as was the case in New York the night before, the second period was dreadful. The Wild could have tied the score on a power play to open the period, but it didn't register a shot. In fact, the Granlund goal was the Wild's only shot on five power plays.
At the point it had a 17-8 shot lead, the Wild trailed 3-1 on Giroux's deflection. That turned the game because the Wild was outshot 19-4 during a 27-minute span.
"We have to get back to being the team we were not too long ago," Pominville said. "We can't wait for something else to happen. We have to use this break to really reenergize."
Yeo, in the last year of his contract, is feeling the heat now.
"I'm not worried about that. I don't care," Yeo said. "I believe in this group and I believe we're going in the right direction. I believe this is the group that's going to get it done. We'll keep hammering away at it."
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