The Red Wings once again made things difficult for themselves, and as they edge closer to what will be a grinding second half, they are flirting with danger.

A two-goal lead was nullified during a sloppy stretch in the second period Sunday, leaving the Wings to rue a 3-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild at XCel Energy Center. The Wings have just one point their last three games.

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

"I think there's three games now that I've said to you afterwards, we've made huge mistakes to give them goals. That can't happen."

Everything began with such promise: Pavel Datsyuk returned after missing one game because of a shoulder bruise, and inside of 10 minutes, he had set up a goal by Damien Brunner, and inside of 21 minutes Datsyuk had scored one himself. Henrik Zetterberg notched his sixth multipoint game of the season with two assists. Rookie goaltender Petr Mrazek, making just his second start, looked strong, even as he had to make do for a while with a broken stick.

Then everything began to fall apart, starting with Dany Heatley scoring on a slap shot midway through the second period.

"These are games you have to have," Babcock said. "We were up, 2-0, and I thought we were playing really well, and for whatever reason, mentally we weren't as sharp in the second period. Give them credit, they did good things. But we made some mistakes prior to goals being scored that I thought led to momentum, and in the end cost us the game."