Wild try to halt slide vs. Blue Jackets

The Minnesota Wild will try to snap a three-game losing streak tonight when the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets come to town for a battle at Xcel Energy Center.

The Wild have gone 0-2-1 in their last three games after winning three out of four prior to the skid. Minnesota is tied with Calgary for the 11th seed in the West and is two points behind Phoenix for the conference's eighth and final postseason berth.

Columbus, meanwhile, is dead last in the NHL with just 36 points on the year. The Blue Jackets had won two in a row before losing Thursday in Dallas for their seventh setback in nine games.

At an earlier point in the season, Minnesota was considered a pleasant surprise, but the Wild have squandered away a good start with a 5-14-5 record in their last 24 games. Head coach Mike Yeo sounded off about his team's struggles over the past few months following his club's 5-2 setback Thursday against the visiting Vancouver Canucks.

"We flat out stink the last two months," Yeo said. "We come in and don't have a good enough effort from too many guys and that's concerning. I'm concerned about the fact that we come into games and we don't have enough guys that should have absolute desperation in their game."

Minnesota did score just 13 seconds into the game against the Canucks, but Vancouver held a 2-1 edge by the end of the first period and would build that lead to 4-1 by midway through the third period.

Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi scored for Minnesota and Niklas Backstrom gave up four goals on 19 shots. One good sign for the Wild was the return of captain Mikko Koivu, who had missed the previous eight games with a left shoulder injury. Koivu was a plus-1 in nearly 23 minutes of ice time on Thursday.

The loss to the Canucks was a bad way to start a four-game homestand for the Wild, who are 13-8-3 at home this year compared to a 12-13-5 record on the road.

Columbus was trying for its first three-game win streak of the season against Dallas on Thursday, but dropped a 4-2 decision to the visiting Stars. Dallas led the game by a 3-0 score in the second period before the Blue Jackets cut the deficit to 3-2 by the end of 40 minutes. Jamie Benn's second goal of the game -- an empty-netter in the final second -- sealed the win for Dallas.

Curtis Sanford was roughed up early for Columbus, but he held the Stars scoreless after the early minutes of the second period, stopping 31-of-34 shots overall. Vinny Prospal and Rick Nash scored for the Blue Jackets, who were trying to win three straight for the first time since last February.

"I liked the way we battled back," said Blue Jackets interim head coach Todd Richards. "The problem was we weren't ready from the start."

Columbus ended a seven-game road skid with an overtime win in Anaheim on Feb. 3, but the Jackets are still just 6-19-3 as the guest this season.

The Wild have recorded a pair of 4-2 victories over Columbus this year, winning one at home and one on the road. The Blue Jackets have taken four of seven overall in this series, but Minnesota has claimed five of the last seven encounters in St. Paul.