Wild goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen still looked shell shocked 15 minutes after last week’s 9-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues. He’d never experienced something like that in his NHL career.

“Not a fun experience,” Kahkonen said at the time. “That was embarrassing for myself. I felt I let my team down. Just a tough night.”

No doubt the worst part for the 24-year-old Kahkonen was he had to sit on that blowout loss for more than a week. With fellow goaltender Cam Talbot rolling, Kahkonen didn’t get a chance to rinse the bad taste from his mouth until Saturday’s game against the San Jose Sharks.

Asked about Kahkonen’s confidence earlier this week, coach Dean Evason hardly seemed concerned. He mentioned how he called Kahkonen after the blowout loss and made it clear that the team has the utmost confidence in him.

“We know he can play,” Evason said. “It was a crappy night for all of us. Not just him. We 100 percent know that his mental makeup will allow him to rebound from a game like that.”

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Maybe the most impressive thing to Evason was the fact that Kahkonen was eager to get back on the ice. Whether it was battling for every save during practice, or staying on late with goaltending coach Freddie Chabot after morning skate, Kahkonen was focused on moving forward in a positive way.

“Nothing’s changed,” Evason said. “It’s not like we’re tip-toeing around him or making sure he’s OK every single day. He’s going out and he’s working hit butt off and he’s getting ready to play hockey.”

As for Talbot, he talked to Kahkonen briefly last week to make sure he was OK, then left him to himself. He knows if the role were reversed, Talbot said he’d want to process the blowout loss on his own.

“He was trying to put the blame on himself that night, which I thought was very unwarranted,” Talbot said. “There’s a lot of things that went wrong in that game. And I don’t think any of them were on him. Just as a young guy, he tries to hold himself accountable. Maybe too accountable at times. Just tried to calm him down a little bit.”

Though it’s no secret that Kahkonen has struggled as of late, he’s also proven this season that he can be a force when he’s on his “A” game. He entered Saturday’s game with a 12-7-0 record, a 2.69 goals against average, and a .909 save percentage.

Those are solid numbers, and as far as Kahkonen’s teammates are concerned, there’s no reason he can’t get back to the level in the very near future.

“He’s a mature kid for his age,” Talbot said. “He’s very calm and collected. I have no doubt that whenever he does get back in there that we’re gonna see his ‘A’ game.”