Good afternoon from Raleigh, where the Wild plays the Hurricanes tonight (6 p.m. CT puck drop).
Eddie Lack vs. maybe Devan Dubnyk.
Originally, Darcy Kuemper was supposed to start, but it certainly sounds like Bruce Boudreau has changed his mind.
Same Wild lineup tonight, meaning Marco Scandella is healthy enough to play and Jordan Schroeder is slated to be scratched again.
Couple quick things: If you read yesterday's blog, Boudreau thinks the Wild's fatigued. So he tried something different today and scrapped the morning skate so as not exert the players too much after practicing them yesterday.
The Wild had a warmup and stretch at its hotel, and Boudreau wanted players to stay in their room where they could “sort of focus more.”
Boudreau, like Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said earlier this season, said it’s not so much the ice time that fatigues players but the act of constantly going to the rink, changing clothes and putting on their equipment.
“That’s the stuff, believe it or not, you start dreading after awhile,” Boudreau said.
Boudreau feels the Wild’s “biggest problem the last 10 games … is getting them all playing good on the same night. We have either seven forwards going and five not going. Or, four defense going and not six going. Or, the goalie not being on top of his game.
“We’ve got to get back to where I think our biggest trait was consistency, in that 18 players were playing well.”
Boudreau also said he met today with Nino Niederreiter, who has one goal in his past 13 games.
"Since he got his 20th goal, he’s been pressing a little bit," Boudreau said.
Boudreau added that there may be a difference in opinion with Niederreiter because the forward thinks "he's going fine," but, Boudreau said, "I just know when he’s a little more aggressive and getting involved, he’s really effective."
Boudreau asked Niederreiter point-blank if he wants to return to left wing and Charlie Coyle can move back to right wing, but Niederreiter said he prefers to play the right side, so Boudreau indicated he'll keep that going for now.
Boudreau said Niederreiter's a streaky scorer, so "I hope he breaks out soon."
I'll be interested to see how the Wild plays tonight. It usually doesn't play well in this building, and whenever you're facing a team that doesn't have a ton to play for this time of year, that can go haywire. The Canes are eight points out of a playoff spot and staring at eight straight years without a playoff berth.
But as Boudreau pointed out, the Wild, the way it's playing with losses in four of its past five games and 1-3 on this trip, has a lot to play for, too.
I'll be doing the Russo-Souhan Show via skype at 1:30 p.m. CT, so look at Twitter for a chance to ask questions.
I'll be on KFAN at 5 p.m. CT.