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Dallas extends Wild’s losing streak to four games – Twin Cities

In this holiday season, the Wild provided their fans with some late cheer Saturday.

But Minnesota didn’t finish.

Jason Zucker scored with 2:03 to play in regulation, but Dallas’ Alexander Radulov scored with 10 seconds left in overtime for a 2-1 Stars win at the Xcel Energy Center.

The Wild lost their season-high fourth straight game; three of those have been at home.

Minnesota has dropped nine of 12 overall and 12 of 18.

“I was really disappointed for the players,” said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. “They stayed on the bench and really hung their heads. They really wanted this one.”

“I don’t know what to say. I’m disappointed to lose that one,” added Zach Parise.

It has become a familiar refrain.

Minnesota has scored three goals in its past four games and 28 in its past dozen. Twelve of those tallies came in back-to-back wins over Montreal and Florida on Dec. 11 and 13.

On the other hand, the Wild have allowed only two goals in three of their past four games, including Thursday in Pittsburgh.

“I don’t want to use the word troubling,” Boudreau said, “but the last two games we’ve played our (rear) off and you only get one point, but thank God we got one point out of it. It could have been really depressing going into four days (off).”

Momentum was clearly on Minnesota’s side late after Zucker knocked in a rebound off a shot by Mikael Granlund past Ben Bishop to provide a jolt to the 19,074 in attendance.

“I like the resiliency from the group. We didn’t quit and came back,” Wild winger Luke Kunin said. “A lot of chances in overtime, sometimes you’re just not going to get those bounces.”

With much of the crowd on its feet throughout the back-and-forth extra session, Parise rang a shot off the post before John Klingberg did the same seconds later for Dallas.

Radulov beat Devan Dubnyk inside the post on a shot from the left circle for the winner.

Jamie Benn scored early in the third for a 1-0 Stars lead which looked to be enough as the Wild continue to miss chances to light the lamp against a Dallas team that had lost five of its previous six overall and won for just the third time in 11 road games.

Off until Thursday, the Wild best hope the jolly old man with the rosy red cheeks — no, not Boudreau — brings them some good cheer. At this point, Boudreau would take about anything to help his offensively challenged squad that is without Matt Dumba and his NHL-best 12 goals from a defenseman. Dumba is scheduled for surgery next week on an upper-body injury.

“We need to be a little more aggressive. I think sometimes we don’t have all three guys involved in the play so a lot of time we’re playing two-on-five in the zone. Tough way to play,” Parise said.

Scoreless late in the second period, Kunin gave blood to provide the Wild a golden opportunity. He tussled with Dallas’s Roman Polak, after the Stars defenseman, 45 pounds heavier, took exception to a hit from the Wild winger. Polak also was also whistled for roughing and instigating to give the Wild a four-minute power play.

Minnesota had one shot with the man advantage, and Nino Niederreiter fired wide from low in the slot.

Other than Parise (six goals in 13 games) and Zucker (four in 15), most of the top Wild weapons are not finding consistent success.

Niederreiter has four goals in 11 games, although three were in two; Eric Staal has three in 12, Charlie Coyle two in 16, Granlund one in 18 and Koivu hasn’t scored in a dozen games.

At least the Wild penalty kill remains stout. Minnesota has killed off 20 straight man disadvantages in its past nine games.

The game was the 4,000th regular-season contest for the Dallas franchise: the first 2,061 were as the Minnesota North Stars.

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