Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 4/8/12
ST. PAUL, Minn. Left to talk about missing the playoffs for the fourth straight season, Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu summarized the disappointment the only way he could. "Obviously we have to face it, we're not where we want to be and that has to change," Koivu said. "Personally I think everybody knows that it's been too long that we've finished the season like this." Dany Heatley scored his team-best 24th goal, but Minnesota lost 4-1 to the Phoenix Coyotes, which wrapped up the Pacific Division title and will be seeded third in the Western Conference playoffs. The Wild (35-36-11) finished with their first losing season since 2001-02 when they 26-35-12-9 in the second season of the franchise's existence. Minnesota also had the seventh-lowest point total in the NHL and will select no later than eighth in the upcoming draft. All non-playoff teams enter a lottery, with one selected winner moving up four spots. If the Wild wins the lottery it will draft third. If a team that finished with more points than Minnesota wins the lottery, the Wild would move back to eighth. The Wild won four of their last six games, all against playoff-bound teams, but it was little consolation to a team that finished with seven regulation wins in its last 52 games after once being on top of the entire league in December. "To be honest, I don't think it really matters," said Koivu who assisted on Heatley's goal. "You can have a couple good games, a couple bad games, but at the end it's an 82-game season and whoever is in the playoffs they earned to be there. We're not good enough and we have to face that and go from there. We lost the last game, so to me it really doesn't matter. "It's all about the playoff hockey. That's where we want to be and we didn't do it this year." The Wild finished the season with 166 goals scored, the lowest season total by any team since the lockout wiped out the 2004-05 season. Minnesota had earned a point in five straight games before Saturday's loss. "I think we'd have the same feeling regardless of how the game played out," coach Mike Yeo said. Genoway makes NHL debut: Defenseman Chay Genoway made his NHL debut on Saturday and was credited with a second assist on Heatley's goal. "Not a lot of jitters, there wasn't a lot of time to really react to that," Genoway said. "We had a game last night and traveled all day today. After the first shift, just kind of settled in and felt pretty comfortable." Genoway, who played college hockey at the University of North Dakota, had played several times in the Xcel Energy Center while at North Dakota. A rookie free agent signing by the Wild last April, Genoway was the leading scorer among defenseman with Minnesota's minor-league affiliate in Houston with seven goals and 25 assists in 68 games. He was the 16th rookie and 10th player to make his NHL debut this season. Genoway was the 47th player to appear in a game for the Wild this season, a team record and just eight away from the all-time NHL mark set by the Boston Bruins in 1991-92 with 55, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Just three Wild players (Heatley, Kyle Brodziak and Darroll Powe) played in every game this season.Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.
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