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Wild leave another point on table in overtime loss to Blues

The Wild are long past being happy about earning an overtime point. With 11 regular-season games remaining, and a Western Conference playoff spot just out of their reach, a loss of any stripe means the glass is half empty.

That’s where Minnesota found itself again Saturday afternoon following a 5-4 overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues, their closest rival in the conference standings, at Xcel Energy Center.

Jordan Kyrou scored his first NHL hat trick, and Brandon Saad scored the winner 2:05 into the 3-on-3 overtime as the Blues beat the Wild for the third time in three games this month. Minnesota took a 3-2 lead into the third period, but Kyrou erased that with consecutive goals.

“We needed two points and we only got one, and that’s frustrating. It’s tough to see the positive right now,” said Marcus Johansson, who tied the game 1-1 early in the second period with his 10th goal of the season. “We come out with the lead in the third and we lose the game. So, it’s very frustrating, very tough.”

The Wild beat the Blues way back on Nov. 28, in John Hynes’ first game as their head coach, but finished the four-game season series against St. Louis 1-1-2 with losses in the last three — all of which were chances for the Wild to either leap or distance themselves from their Central Division rival.

Marco Rossi scored a pair of goals, and Brock Faber tied the game late in regulation with a goal off a faceoff, but it was another disappointment against the Blues, who beat the Wild 3-1 on March 2 before winning overtime games March 16 and Saturday.

“They’re 3-1 against us, so at the end of the day, they’ve played better hockey when it matters most,” Faber said. “And It’s unfortunate, but again, we’re still confident in the group we have.”

The Wild still could gain a point on Vegas, which holds the eighth and final playoff spot in the West, but also could fall six points out if the Knights beat Columbus, last in the East with 58 points, in a late game in Las Vegas.

The Blues, meanwhile, pulled within two points of the Knights and three ahead of 10th-place Minnesota. The Wild’s playoff hopes aren’t dead, but with 11 regular-season games left, they’re in rough shape.

“Yeah, we’re still alive,” Johansson said, “but we want to get in, so it’s tough to see the positive right now. We wanted two points, we only got one. Now we’ve got to move on and get two in the next one.”

That next game is Thursday night against Western Conference also-ran San Jose at the X, the second in a six-game homestand for the Wild that started Saturday.

Jake Neighbors also scored for the Blues, and Jordan Binnington stopped 31 shots as St. Louis won for the seventh time in eight games.

“It was a big game for us,” Kyrou said. “I like playing against them. I feel like we’ve built up a pretty good rivalry ever since I came into the league, so I get a little extra motivation playing against them and always wanting to beat them.”

Kyrou’s third goal, a wrist shot from the high slot that beat Marc-Andre Fleury to his right, gave the Blues a 4-3 lead with 10 minutes left in regulation. But Faber knotted it back up with 5:09 remaining, skating in from the right circle to retrieve a rebound and bang it in behind Binnington.

“A point’s a point,” Faber said, “but we’re at that time of the season where (we need) points. But again, there’s no give in this group. We’re not gonna give up until Game 82. So, you know, just moving forward, it’s just frustrating. Would have liked two points.”

The Wild were playing without injured top-line center Joel Eriksson Ek and shutdown defenseman Jonas Brodin, both out with lower-body injuries.

Fleury, who has taken the lion’s share of starts in net this month, stopped 22 shots. The Wild, who lost 6-0 at Los Angeles on Wednesday, have now lost consecutive head-to-head matchups against teams they’re trying to catch.

“They’re ahead of us in the standings, right?” Fleury said. “If we want to catch the last wild card, then we need points. Obviously, (one) is better than nothing, but still we needed two.”

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