For Tuesday’s practice at Xcel Energy Center, Wild coach Bruce Boudreau radically shook up his lines.
Or did he?
With his team down 3-0 to the St. Louis Blues in the first-round playoff series, Boudreau spent practice focusing his team on getting to the net. New lines were: Eric Staal centering Charlie Coyle and Mikael Granlund; Mikko Koivu centering Nino Niederreiter and Zach Parise; Martin Hanzal centering Jason Zucker and Jason Pominville; and Joel Eriksson Ek centering Chris Stewart and Ryan White, with Jordan Schroeder also skating with that line.
“Those are power-play units,” Boudreau said. “So I just kept them in the same color because we weren’t doing anything exceptional except going to the net. Those aren’t necessarily the lines that are going to be playing [Wednesday].”
But players are preparing for some radical changes linewise, and it could be the first time since Nov. 25 that Koivu and Granlund have been separated. It’s possible putting Granlund — who has been dealing with physical play from the Blues — might benefit from being in a threesome with big linemates Coyle and Staal.
“You don’t have to look any further than the amount of goals that we’ve scored,” Parise said about the changes. “We have to try something different.”
Said Staal: “We’ve done it all year, with different combinations. Maybe it will give us a different look, and maybe give [the Blues] a different look in their building. I think everybody on this team can play with each other.”
Erik Haula didn’t practice Tuesday. Haula was injured in Game 2 when he was hit by Scottie Upshall at the end of the second period. He didn’t practice before Game 3 but played. Boudreau said Haula was getting a maintenance day and was questionable for Game 4.
The Wild worked extensively on its power play, with slightly modified units. One unit had Jonas Brodin and Matt Dumba at the point, with forwards Koivu, Parise and Niederreiter. The other had Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon at the point with Coyle, Granlund and Staal. The only change was switching Granlund and Parise on the two units.
The Wild is 0-for-9 on 5-on-4 power plays in the series.
“Right now our entries have been a little off,” Staal said. “If we can get cleaner entries and gain possession of the puck, we’ll create more zone time.”
• Blues center Paul Stastny, out because of a foot injury, practiced Tuesday for the first time since being nailed by a Vladimir Tarasenko shot on March 21. Winger Alex Steen (foot) missed practice Tuesday, but coach Mike Yeo said Steen will play Wednesday.
• According to Bovada, odds for the Wild to win the Stanley Cup, which started at 8-to-1, have dropped to 50-1. Chicago, down 3-0 to Nashville, dropped from 4-1 to 25-1.
Staff writer Michael Russo contributed to this report