Wild playoff hopes hanging by a thread after loss to Predators

Minnesota Wild forward Luke Kunin (19) shoots during the second period against the Nashville Predators at Xcel Energy Center on Monday, March 25. Brace Hemmelgarn / USA TODAY Sports
Minnesota Wild forward Luke Kunin (19) shoots during the second period against the Nashville Predators at Xcel Energy Center on Monday, March 25. Brace Hemmelgarn / USA TODAY Sports

ST. PAUL -- So many times this season the Wild have regurgitated the same tired cliches following a game in which they felt they played well enough to win.

They have searched for silver linings after each loss, hypothesizing that if the team continues to play with the same type of intensity, eventually things would start to break in their favor.

All that’s done, though, is lead the Wild to the brink of playoff elimination, and after Monday’s 1-0 loss to the Nashville Predators, they are quickly running out of time.

Again, the Wild play well enough to win on this particular night, outplaying the Predators for prolonged stretch, only to come up come up short in the end.

A shorthanded goal from center Ryan Johansen early in the first period held up as the game-winning goal with the Wild struggling to solve goaltender Juuse Saros the rest of the way.

It wasn’t for a lack of Grade A chances.

Whether it was Jason Zucker not getting a shot off on a breakaway, Luke Kunin obliterating the post on an odd-man rush, or Ryan Donato sailing a puck over the net on a close-range attempt from the slot, the Wild, like they have all season, were once again left lamenting their missed opportunities in the locker room postgame.

Adding insult to injury, the Wild finished 0 for 3 on the power play, including a man advantage down the stretch in which they failed to garner a shot on goal.

As the Wild floated around the ice at various times in the final fame, they were showered by the rotund sound of boos from the 18,833 fans in attendance, most of which have no doubt grown tired of seeing the same story play out in real time over and over again.

Luckily for them, and maybe for the Wild, there are only five games left in this maddening campaign.