Darcy Kuemper almost certainly would have started tonight's game in Washington anyway, but Devan Dubnyk is scratched tonight for what coach John Torchetti is calling "just a little maintenance."
Dubnyk appeared to hurt his left leg last night in the second period when Jakub Voracek crashed into him after being budged in the back by Ryan Suter. Torchetti admitted Dubnyk's maintenance has to do with the collision.
Torchetti said it's just that though: maintenance and it's not considered serious.
Niklas Backstrom will back up for the first time since Kuemper was sidelined with a concussion from Dec. 31-Jan. 7.
Since Dubnyk's puck gaffe at the end of the Arizona game (so since the All-Star break), Dubnyk is 3-6 with a 3.12 goals-against average and .897 save percentage. He has had two games with under three goals against in those nine games. In the previous six, he was 1-4-1 but with a 1.67 goals-against average and .937 save percentage with five of those games games with under three goals against.
The only other lineup change tonight is Nate Prosser in for Christian Folin.
Torchetti also said there would be tinkered lines tonight. My guess is Jordan Schroeder will be moved to the fourth line after a tough game last night. It wouldn't shock me if Ryan Carter moves up. He played well last night and Torchetti will be looking for a checking mentality tonight against Alex Ovechkin and gang.
Torchetti wasn't happy with two of the goals given up last night. He called them "soft chip plays.
"We have to make sure we manage the puck well," he said. "We just can't give up goals like that. We give up one power play, they score a goal. The discipline was there that we asked for. We give up one penalty, you've got to be able to kill that penalty off."
My personal issue with last night was the Wild looked small. Guys like Schroeder, Erik Haula, Jared Spurgeon, etc., lost puck battles constantly.
Torchetti said he liked their game last night for the most part and frankly if you think about those shots by Haula in the first and Charlie Coyle and Mikael Granlund in the third, the Wild easily could have won.
"We have to do a better job on the goal line," he said. "We have five players to their three on the game-winning goal. We have to get beat by a point shot if we’re going to lose from there.
"But I thought last night's game we should have won 2-1. I'm disappointed in that. That’s the type of game we should have won 2-1. You want to make sure the team understands where we were a week ago to now. We started off 4-0 and we hit a bump the one game [vs. the Islanders] and played a good enough game the next game [against the Flyers] and could be sit 4-1-1, 5-1. We're still playing good hockey."
Torchetti said he'll find out Zach Parise and Jason Zucker's status at practice tomorrow, but Jonas Brodin has been skating.
I'll be on KFAN at 4:55 p.m.