John Torchetti was so dissatisfied with the Wild’s physicality in Games 1 and 2 that the first couple of clips he showed the team on video in advance of Game 3 illustrated the fact that if the “littlest” guys on the team — Mikael Granlund and Jared Spurgeon — could play physical, so could everyone else.
Later that night, Torchetti replaced veterans Jarret Stoll and Ryan Carter — the Wild’s only two players who have won a Stanley Cup — in the lineup with Zac Dalpe and Kurtis Gabriel.
Dalpe is an energetic, good-skating center who made his playoff debut in Game 1. Gabriel is a minor league heavyweight who fought 15 times for Iowa of the AHL this season. He played three regular-season NHL games totaling two fights and 13 minutes, 29 seconds, and Monday was his playoff debut.
Torchetti described Gabriel before the game as a “hardworking kid, good on the walls, physical, likes to fight. The kind of player you like.”
Asked if that’s something he felt he’d need in Game 3, the coach said, “I think you need it every night.”
Stars coach Lindy Ruff said he wouldn’t let Torchetti’s lineup decisions influence his.
“If they want to have a more physical lineup, then we have to skate harder,” Ruff said.
The Wild wouldn’t make Gabriel available to the media before the game, but Dalpe said: “He’s big, he keeps things honest out there. He’s not a flashy player, but he’s a workhorse.”
Dalpe felt Gabriel would help keep Stars agitator Antoine Roussel “a little more honest.”
Added winger Chris Porter: “It’s just good to have somebody out there that can kind of police guys. They have Roussel for them, and hopefully [Gabriel] can do that for us.”
Porter recalled his first NHL playoff game for St. Louis and figured Gabriel would be nervous.
“It kind of is a blur,” he said before Monday’s game. “You’re preparing all day and then it gets there. You want to make your imprint on the game, and I think he’s going to want to do the same. Hopefully he doesn’t play with too many nerves.”
Stars center Tyler Seguin, who missed the last 10 games of the regular season and Game 1 of this series because of a lacerated Achilles’ tendon, stayed in Dallas and didn’t play Game 3.
Ruff said Seguin didn’t aggravate the injury.
“He was ready,” Ruff said. “His declaration was he was ready to play, felt great, and then it becomes my decision. … He just irritated something that rendered him not effective.”
The Stars entered 9-2 without Seguin.
• Injured Thomas Vanek has started skating on his own, but injured Zach Parise still is not skating.
“He’s our No. 1 battler,” Torchetti said of Parise. “He’s the type of guy that we need. Could probably give us a couple more extra power plays, a guy that could probably get to [goalie Kari] Lehtonen a little more here. That’s what he does, that’s what he does best.”
Parise was at the game but declined to comment.
• Defenseman Mike Reilly was recalled Sunday but didn’t make his NHL playoff debut.
• With Iowa’s season over, in addition to Gabriel, the Wild recalled Grayson Downing, Tyler Graovac, Steve Michalek, Zack Mitchell, Zach Palmquist, Tyson Strachan and Hunter Warner to be part of the playoff-eligible minor league practice group.
Recently signed Alex Tuch and Gustav Bouramman also are in town, although they’re not playoff-eligible.
• Defenseman Kris Russell (illness) didn’t play for Dallas.