Needing an offensive spark after being shut out in Game 4, the Wild mixed up its look during practice Thursday at Xcel Energy Center – its last tune-up before it tries to stave off elimination Friday against the Jets when Game 5 goes in Winnipeg.
“We have to score more than one goal to win a game, or two goals, against these guys,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “
The most significant changes were the additions of forward Kyle Rau and defenseman Ryan Murphy; Rau skated on a line with center Matt Cullen and winger Marcus Foligno, while Murphy filled out the third pairing next to Nate Prosser.
“We didn’t score any goals last game,” Boudreau said. “[Murphy’s] a really good puck mover. We really like what [Carson Soucy] has done, and he’s going to be a really good player for us. But there’s more experience in Murph, and he’s an offensive player. We could use him on the power play.”
As for the rest of the forward lines, winger Charlie Coyle worked with winger Jason Zucker and center Eric Staal, captain Mikko Koivu centered wingers Nino Niederreiter and Mikael Granlund and wingers Daniel Winnik and Jordan Greenway flanked center Joel Eriksson Ek. Wingers Tyler Ennis and Kurtis Gabriel were the extras.
The top-two defensive pairings featuring Jonas Brodin with Matt Dumba and Nick Seeler alongside Jared Spurgeon remained the same.
Expect the Jets to roll out a different lineup for Game 5, too.
Defenseman Josh Morrissey was suspended one game for his cross-check to Staal’s neck in Game 4.
“It doesn’t matter,” Staal said. “We’ve got to win tomorrow. That’s all I’m worried about. The league decided to do more after the fact, and that’s how the league works. They decided one [game]. So for me, regardless of what they decided, it wouldn’t have made a difference. I’m worried about trying to help our team win the game up there and take it home. That’s all I’m focused on.”