Wild coach Bruce Boudreau watched the sequence over and over and over again.
“I’ve looked at it 40 times, 50 times,” he said.
And what he sees is Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk offside before his eventual goal in the first period Monday, a tally that cut the Flyers’ deficit in half and helped pave the way for a 7-4 rally for Philadelphia.
“It’s offside a hundred percent,” Boudreau said. “Yet, everybody in the league said it’s onside. So I don’t know.”
The coach’s challenge issued by Boudreau to examine the play was the fourth unsuccessful try by the Wild this season, a 2-for-6 clip that reflects just how unpredictable these resolutions can be — to the point Boudreau has zero confidence in the outcome when he motions for further review.
“I don’t know,” he said.
Boudreau reached out to the NHL to gain clarification, and the explanation he received was center Sean Couturier didn’t touch the puck in the offensive zone until van Riemsdyk was onside after previously being in an offside position.
“I’m going, ‘If [Couturier] didn’t touch it, then the puck would have been in the corner,’ ” Boudreau said. “But who knows? It’s water under the bridge now.”
In the third period, the Wild did successfully win a coach’s challenge that looked at goaltender interference — the first time the team has used both challenges in a game. After a goal by defenseman Ryan Suter was waved off because center Eric Staal fell into goalie Carter Hart, the initial call was reversed because video showed Staal was pushed into Hart by Flyers defenseman Robert Hagg.
Overall, the team has won only one offside coach’s challenge this season and is 11-for-37 since the resource was implemented in 2015-16.
After playing the third period Monday in relief of No. 1 Devan Dubnyk, Alex Stalock started Tuesday against the Kings. The backup performed admirably, stopping 31 of 33 shots before denying the Kings three times in the shootout for a 3-2 victory.
Stalock was originally scheduled to handle this game, but Boudreau also mentioned he thought Dubnyk is getting physically and mentally fatigued.
“He’s played an awful lot of hockey,” Boudreau said. “Sometimes when that happens, you tire and you need to regroup.”
Monday was Dubnyk’s 37th start of the season, which ranked third in the NHL. He also sat fifth in shots faced (1,062).
“Never played the position, but I gotta believe that the mental part, it’s like a golfer,” Boudreau said. “You can’t take any seconds off. Hockey players, they go to the bench, they relax and [can] be thinking about something else other than the game. But the goalie’s always gotta be on, so it’s a tough spot.”
The fourth line chipped in a pair of goals against the Flyers, with winger Marcus Foligno notching his third and center Joel Eriksson Ek securing his second — his first since being recalled last week from the minors.
“They’ve been good, and they’ve worked hard,” Boudreau said of the line. “They’ve just worked hard and done the right things. This has been our problem. We’ve had one or two or three lines doing that, but we don’t have four lines doing that. We have two or three defense doing that, but we don’t have six defense doing it.”
After a pair of losses to teams that were in last place at the time — the Red Wings in the Atlantic Division and the Flyers in the entire NHL — the Wild is stuck a logjam for the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference.
Had it secured four points from two victories instead, the Wild would have extricated itself from this multi-team battle by jumping to the third seed in the Central Division, skipping over the Avalanche and Stars.
“It’s a little deceiving,” winger Zach Parise said. “I think Detroit was a lot better team than they are in the standings, and I think [the Flyers] are, too. I think they’ve been having some goaltending issues in the beginning of the year, but talent-wise they got some good players. Yeah, they’re low in the standings and you look at games and you think this was our chance to make a push and move up a little bit. It’s unfortunate it hasn’t happened.”