Expectations have changed since the Minnesota Wild's 1-6 start. Instead of being excited following Marek Zidlicky's winning goal in a 2-1 victory over visiting Columbus last night, the Wild were relieved. They were glad for the win, but were disappointed by two lackluster periods following a flurry of chances in the first.
"I don't think too many guys are happy with the way we played," Wild coach Todd Richards said. "We're happy we won, but I'm leaving the rink tonight not feeling great."
The Wild returned home from a five-game road trip in which they were 3-2 and improved to 8-2-1 in the past 11 games.
Rick Nash tallied the lone goal for Columbus, and Steve Mason stopped 21 shots in the loss that dropped the Blue Jackets to 2-8-4 in their last 14 games.
The Wild passed Columbus in the standings with the victory, but are still are among the Western Conference's worst teams.
"We need to find a way to play great hockey for 60 minutes," Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom said following his 21-save performance. "We want to be a team that plays every night, plays their best hockey 60 minutes. We're happy with the points, but not the whole 60 minutes."
In other games:
* At Nashville, David Legwand and Patric Hornqvist each had a goal and an assist, and the Predators used a five-goal second period to beat Tampa Bay, 7-4.
* At Denver, Tomas Fleischmann scored two goals, Jose Theodore stopped 27 shots and the Washington Capitals routed the Colorado Avalanche, 6-1.
* At Edmonton, Sean O'Donnell scored the game-winner with less than 5 minutes left in the game and Jonathan Quick had 27 saves in Los Angeles' 3-2 win over the Oilers.
* At St. Louis, T.J. Oshie scored the go-ahead goal with 4:58 to play, helping the Blues beat the Calgary Flames, 4-3.