SAN JOSE, Calif. – The Wild isn't at a make-or-break crossroads.
With 44 points, the team is still sitting comfortably in a playoff position and there's still another month-plus to go in the season.
But how the team responds Thursday at Vegas after falling 4-2 to the Sharks on Wednesday at SAP Center to drop the first two games on this road trip will be telling.
"There's a lot of season left," captain Jared Spurgeon said. "We can't just look at these two games and start pouting."
So far this season, the Wild has had a habit of bouncing back – not losing more than two games in a row.
If it keeps that trend up against the Golden Knights, then maybe these past few performances in San Jose were a blip.
But if the Wild can't rediscover some semblance of the style that's fueled most of its success this season – the eager offense, yes, but also just the attention to detail and cohesiveness that's helped craft this year's identity – then the team could be wading into more dangerous territory.
"Some parts of the season are a little more choppy," winger Mats Zuccarello said. "Just have to bear down and play hard. Some other parts of the season, every pass you make goes and every shot goes in. I think that goes for the whole team, and you're only as good as the team is and we didn't play our best these two games.
"This is just the time to bear down and play a simple game."
The pregame huddle is likely to have the same theme as the meeting ahead of Wednesday's game when players were shown video clips of them passing up shots to remind them to shoot more.
"We can score the goals like [Nick] Bonino's goal the other night off the rush," coach Dean Evason said. "There's no question. We've got enough talent, enough skill, enough speed, all that good stuff to score off the rush. But what's made us successful is our ability to get pucks in and grind down low and then ultimately get it to the net and get people there. So, we're going to have to reinforce it again obviously."
While searching for offense Wednesday, Evason did scramble the lines – splitting up Kirill Kaprizov, Victor Rask and Zuccarello and the Kevin Fiala, Ryan Hartman and Marcus Johansson trio – but it's unclear if he'll stick with those combinations.
"Obviously, we scored goals," Evason said. "But we'll have to watch and see if that felt right."
And while the pair of losses in San Jose snapped a three-game win streak that the team had at home, they did continue the Wild's struggles on the road that date back to the end of the its first trip in March when the team lost 5-2 at Arizona.
"We have two big games left on this road trip starting [Thursday]," Spurgeon said, "and we can turn this thing around quick."