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Change comes to struggling power play

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO
  • Star Tribune
  • February 26, 2013 - 7:59 AM

 

Trying to jump-start a dormant power play, the Wild coaching staff tried schematic changes to create more movement. That didn't work, so on Monday the Wild tinkered some more.

"We have to try something different," coach Mike Yeo said. "It's probably time to try some personnel changes."

Rookie Mikael Granlund was moved onto the No. 1 unit with first-liners Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu, while Dany Heatley moved to the second with Devin Setoguchi and Matt Cullen. The point men will vary, but they will include Ryan Suter, Jared Spurgeon, Jonas Brodin and Pierre-Marc Bouchard.

"This gives us two good units," Yeo said. "We're looking for two units that are a threat to go out and score."

The Wild's power play ranks 27th in the NHL at 13.8 percent. Over the past 12 games, it is 3-for-34 (8.8 percent). That's only 2.8 power-play opportunities a game.

"We haven't had enough opportunities in games to get chances, so when you're getting one or two a game, the pressure's on almost like you have to score every time," Setoguchi said. "Our power play has got to be better, but we've got to get more power plays, too."

It comes down to puck possession and also working harder in the offensive zone to draw obstruction penalties.

"You draw penalties by having the puck, and you draw penalties by attacking and forcing teams to hook you, forcing teams to hold you or they end up tripping you because you have position on a guy," Yeo said.

"Driving the net is always a great way to draw penalties. We have to continue to do more of that and we'll get it."

Yeo might also use rookie Charlie Coyle to get more of a net-front presence. So far Yeo has resisted taking a veteran off the power play for rookie Jason Zucker, a shoot-first rookie who at the time of his Feb. 16 callup from Houston ranked third in the American Hockey League with 10 power-play goals.

Injury report

• Winger Cal Clutterbuck will miss his second consecutive game because of a thigh contusion, Yeo said.

Clutterbuck says the injury is improving, but it's clear just by watching him walk that he still has some discomfort.

Heatley took Clutterbuck's spot on the third line with Bouchard and Kyle Brodziak during Monday's practice, while Coyle moved to the first line with Parise and Koivu.

• Goalie Josh Harding hasn't been on the ice since Feb. 14.

"Doctors' orders," said Harding, who didn't start as scheduled Feb. 12 in Vancouver because he was feeling "off" after changing medications in his treatment for multiple sclerosis.

Harding said he is feeling better physically and will "hopefully get on the ice soon."

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