The struggling Minnesota Wild will try to pick up just its second win of the month when they visit the Calgary Flames for Monday's tilt at the Saddledome.
The Wild won eight of their last nine games in March, but so far they've managed only a 1-5-1 record this month. Minnesota was able to earn just its third point of April in its last contest, losing Saturday's 3-2 shootout decision to visiting Columbus.
Minnesota's poor play in April has the club tied with idle Detroit for the last two playoff spots in the Western Conference. The Wild have a game in hand to use against the Red Wings on Monday, but Dallas and Columbus, which are just two points behind in a tie for ninth-place, both play on Monday. The Stars are visiting Chicago, while the Blue Jackets are playing at Colorado.
The Wild fired 41 shots at Sergei Bobrovsky on Saturday, but they only got two past the Columbus goaltender. The last of Minnesota's goals was Jason Pominville's power-play tally, which tied the game at 2-2 with just 3:15 left in the third period.
However, Bobrovsky made a glove save on Zach Parise in the first round of the shootout, and then Mark Letestu scored on a rising wrist shot. Mikko Koivu was then denied by Bobrovsky's right pad, and Columbus sealed the outcome when Cam Atkinson faked a move to the left side of the net before scoring on the right side.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard also scored for Minnesota, while Niklas Backstrom made 20 saves in defeat.
"You have to be consistent throughout a game to win a game," Pominville said. "I think we missed that for a little part of the second (period)."
Saturday's loss dropped Minnesota to 0-2-1 on its three-game homestand and the club will play the first of three straight on the road on Monday. The Wild, who are 9-10-1 as the guest this season, will also visit Edmonton and San Jose on this swing.
Monday's test is the fourth of five scheduled meetings this season between the Wild and Flames. Minnesota has claimed three of the last four encounters in this series overall, but Calgary has won three of four at the Saddledome.
Despite being 11 points out of a playoff spot in the West, Calgary has been relishing in the spoiler role lately, winning two straight and three of its last four contests.
The Flames are coming off Saturday's 4-1 win in Edmonton. Sven Baertschi had a goal and an assist to help Calgary deliver a big blow to the Oilers' playoff chances.
Mikael Backlund, Dennis Wideman and Maxwell Reinhart scored for the Flames, while Joey MacDonald posted 28 saves in the win.
"We're doing little things right now that we weren't doing a month ago," MacDonald said.
The Flames have an 11-8-2 record at the Saddledome this season and are kicking off a three-game homestand on Monday.