In an abbreviated season, a small slump can seem like a significant slide and have serious consequences.

The Detroit Red Wings are taking on water, coach Mike Babcock said, after his team's winless streak was extended to three games (0-2-1) with a 3-2 loss Sunday to the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center.

During this stretch, which followed a three-game winning streak, the Red Wings have started strong but finished poorly. They are making mistakes (turnovers and bad decisions) that are leading to easy goals. And in two of the past three games, they have failed to take advantage of a goaltender making his second NHL appearance.

“These three games, we made huge mistakes to give them goals. That can't happen,'' Babcock said. “We know how to play better than that, so we got to stick to it for 60 minutes.

“You have to win and get points in this league or you lose sight of everything in a hurry. Right now, we're taking on water.''

The Red Wings (7-6-2) played slightly more than 20 minutes of good hockey in this one. Pavel Datsyuk returned after sitting out a game with a bruised shoulder. He provided a spark, assisting on Damien Brunner's goal 8:48 of the first period and then scoring on a terrific shot 20 seconds into the second period to make it 2-0.

But the Wild controlled the final two periods, scoring three goals in a span of 4:10 midway through the second against Petr Mrazek, making his second NHL start.