Wild trainer Dean Evason urgently needed a spark in the power game, scrapped everything and started over.
This is not an exaggeration. While pretty much every team in the NHL is putting as much firepower as possible into the power game, the Wild have gone against the grain lately and have simply rolled their regular lines when they have a man advantage.
In other words, if the first line by Joel Eriksson Ek centering Jordan Greenway and Kevin Fiala, or the second line by Victor Rask centering Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello, they can’t get the job done , The Wild have no problem sending the third line from Ryan Hartman centering Zach Parise and Marcus Foligno over the boards. Even Nick Bonino’s fourth line, which focuses on Nico Sturm and Nick Bjugstad, could get a chance if necessary.
It worked in the last game when the Wild finally switched to the power game in their 5-1 win against Ducks in Anaheim on Saturday. The power game started on Monday against the San Jose Sharks with a miserable 4 for 52 that season.
« Just because we scored doesn’t mean we’re on fire here, » said Evason with a laugh. “We want the level of competition in our power game to be really high. We challenged the group that each line would be played in a specific situation. As it is tonight we will roll again and hopefully succeed again. »
This unorthodox strategy is unlikely to be maintained by the game throughout the season. It just seems like a matter of time before they return to a more traditional approach of bringing the best offensive players together and hoping it works on its own.
At some point, the prospect of Kaprizov and Fiala playing power will be too tempting to miss. In the meantime, the Wild will try to build on their recent success by continuing to roll their regular lines.
« It didn’t work and we stuck to what we thought possible to succeed and that didn’t work, » said Evason. “You just keep trying. You keep trying to tweak different things and I think the players look forward to being able to get out of there in any situation. »
As impressed as rookie defenseman Calen Addison was during a brief stint in the NHL last week, he was recently sent back to the American Hockey League’s Iowa Wild.
There was simply no room for Addison on the squad and his defense colleague Carson Soucy was ready to return to the line-up.
« We saw a lot of potential, » said Evason. “We saw a lot of great things. He’s a young player, and we’ve already talked about hockey players having to play hockey. Especially young people who are part of our future. He behaved very well. We’ll be comfortable having to put him back on the lineup. »
Goalkeeper Cam Talbot has not started a game against the Colorado Avalanche since February 2nd. He missed a couple of weeks after testing positive for COVID, and now that he’s back on the team, he’s worked tirelessly to get his timing back.
It seems that Talbot is about to get active again. In fact, Talbot was supposed to be a substitute goalkeeper for the Haie game on Monday while Kaapo Kahkonen celebrated his 10th start of the season.
When asked if there is a chance Talbot can play the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday, Evason replied: « He is a possibility. We will judge after today’s game. »
On the subject of matching items
Marcus Foligno grabs Gordie Howe’s hat trick as Wild Pummel Sharks
Kevin Fiala missed a chance at a hat trick. Here’s why the Wild are okay with that.
Kevin Fiala leads as Wild Coast to a 5-1 win against Ducks
Wild winger Mats Zuccarello is promoted to lineup in return
Wild goalkeeper Cam Talbot returns after battling COVID