In a season filled with positives, the first-place Minnesota Wild are now experiencing some big-time adversity.
Getting back on track won't be easy against the surging Vancouver Canucks - their closest pursuer in the Northwest Division.
The Wild look to end a season-high three-game skid with their first win at Vancouver in nearly three years Monday night.
Among the league's biggest surprises after a third straight non-playoff season, Minnesota (20-8-5) has spent a good portion of 2011-12 atop the NHL's overall standings behind a stingy defense and exceptional goaltending.
That combination - along with some timely scoring - helped the Wild put together a recent season-best seven-game win streak. That run ended with a loss at Winnipeg on Tuesday before the team returned home and absorbed a pair of shootout losses while playing with a makeshift lineup.
Missing from Saturday's 2-1 loss to the New York Islanders were captain and leading scorer Mikko Koivu (lower body) and forwards D...