It made sense for Wild coach Bruce Boudreau to scramble the forward lines during practice Friday after the team was upended 5-2 by the Capitals Thursday to snap a franchise-record 13-game point streak on home ice.
But that wasn't the only motivation behind the change.
Veteran center Matt Cullen missed the session to take a maintenance day, and his availability for Saturday's matinee against the Ducks at Xcel Energy Center won't be determined until the morning.
With Cullen absent Friday, the Wild rolled out four entirely new lines:
Nino Niederreiter-Mikko Koivu-Mikael Granlund
Jason Zucker-Eric Staal-Chris Stewart
Zach Parise-Joel Eriksson Ek-Charlie Coyle
Marcus Foligno-Daniel Winnik-Tyler Ennis
If Cullen is unable to play and Stewart draws in, it would be his first appearance since Feb. 3 against the Stars, as he's been a healthy scratch for five consecutive games.
Again, with the Wild getting 32 of its shots turned aside Thursday by Washington backup Philipp Grubauer, perhaps this is the right time to debut a new look.
"We had a lot of chances," Boudreau said. "We did a lot of good things. We didn’t score on our opportunities, and they scored on theirs.”
Saturday's tilt, which Boudreau said he "may" tab goalie Devan Dubnyk for, wraps up a five-game homestand for the Wild which has yieled mixed results thus far at 2-1-1. Not only would a win over the Ducks ensure seven out of a possible 10 points, but it'd also keep the Ducks behind the Wild in the standings since the teams are currently separated by just a point.
"That's the whole goal is when you fall off the horse, when it bucks you off, you get right back on," Boudreau said. "That’s what we’re obviously trying to do. But I’m sure Anaheim wants to start a little streak of their own.”