Saturday morning, when the Calgary media asked Bruce Boudreau how his team is coping with multiple injuries, he knew just what would cure its ills. “A win would help,’’ the Wild coach said. “We go home after tonight and have six games at home. So it’s a big game for us. That’s how you cope; you just keep thinking of the success you could have.’’
The Wild will try again Saturday to escape its sluggish start, facing Calgary to end this season’s first set of back-to-back games. It will be missing yet another forward, as Landon Ferraro—who left Friday’s loss at Winnipeg with a hip flexor injury—will not play. Mikael Granlund (groin) won’t be in the lineup, either, ensuring he gets another three days of recovery time before potentially resuming play Tuesday against Vancouver to start that six-game home stand.
That again forces the Wild to use all the healthy players on the trip, putting out a lineup of 11 forwards and seven defensemen.
As expected, Alex Stalock will get the start in goal, his second of the season. Boudreau said he felt a little bad about the timing of the start, coming at the end of a back-to-back set when the Wild is feeling some pressure. Still, he’s confident Stalock will handle it.
“He’s been real good,’’ Boudreau said. “You hate to sometimes throw him in the back-to-back when you’re dealing with some adversity. But I know the guys like him, and I think they’ll come to play for him.’’
Asked about Devan Dubnyk’s play this season, Boudreau said he isn’t concerned—though he admitted it hasn’t been up to the goalie’s usual high standards. Dubnyk is 1-2-1 with a goals-against average of 3.80 and save percentage of .888.
“All of us that are used to seeing elite playing, when you’re getting average playing, you seem to worry,’’ Boudreau said. “But there are times you go through these things.
“I’m not worried. His past three years have been incredibly good, and I expect him to be incredibly good down the road here.’’
Stalock stopped 38 of 42 shots in his only previous start this season, a 5-4 shootout loss at Carolina two weeks ago. He has a GAA of 3.75 and save percentage of .905.
Boudreau was emphasizing the positive the day after a 4-3 loss at Winnipeg. The Wild rallied from a 2-0 deficit and led 3-2 until the Jets tied it with 32.7 seconds left in the second period. Winnipeg scored the winner with 6:46 left to continue the Wild’s pattern of being unable to lock down victories when it is ahead or tied late in the game.
“We did a lot of good things,’’ Boudreau said. “We’ve played five teams now that all have winning records, and we were tied or leading with less than 10 minutes to go in the game. We’ve got to learn how to keep a lead right now. But we’re very close to being a good team again.’’
As a reminder, it’s a late game tonight, starting at 9 p.m. Minnesota time.