After going 0-for-5 on the power play in Tuesday’s 1-0 loss to the Anaheim Ducks, it was no surprise that Wednesday’s practice at Xcel Energy Center was focused on special teams.
The Wild had opportunities on the power play, but were unable to beat Ducks goaltender John Gibson all night.
“Just wanted to get sharper,’’ Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. “I thought we had opportunities. But Anaheim did a really good job of boxing out – I think I said that last night. So this morning, we were trying to get inside. And by inside, I mean inside their [defense] so we’re able to get to the rebounds. That’s what we were trying to accomplish. It wasn’t a hard practice or anything.’’
Other than some skating and shooting drills, the power play got all the work today, which means we won’t know if Boudreau is going to change his lines for tomorrow’s game against Dallas, which lost at Winnipeg Tuesday, until tomorrow’s morning skate. The Stars practiced here this afternoon.
Here are some other items from today’s practice:
--Boudreau said Alex Tuch needs to stop playing safe and start playing loose. “If you want to stay you have to play that way,’’ Boudreau said. “I was called up a lot in my short tenure in the NHL, and I knew if I didn’t do something special I was going to get sent down. Being ordinary doesn’t really cut it. You have to something that’s outside the box sometimes.’’
--Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon, the fellow on the receiving end of Gustav Nyquist’s high stick to the face Sunday against Detroit, said he isn’t really interested in finding out how Nyquist is punished. “I haven’t even paid attention to it,’’ Spurgeon said. “It is what it is, and they’ll do their thing.’’
News on Nyquist’s suspension is due later this afternoon. Boudreau said he has been following the situation more out of curiosity than anything else.
“It doesn’t help us either way, unless they suspended him playing against us the next time,’’ Boudreau said. “But it’s the same with the Vermette thing, it’s interesting to see how the league goes with this.’’
Anaheim forward Antoine Vermette was ejected from Tuesday’s game for slashing at the leg of linesman Shandor Alphonso after losing a third-period faceoff.
--Jonas Brodin continues to skate with the team, but Boudreau wasn’t specific on when he expects Brodin to return. “I have no idea right now,’’ he said. “I’m hoping sooner than later. It looks like he’s skating fine. He started taking slap shots today. I have to believe it’s in the not-too-distant future.’’
--Matt Dumba, who has missed two games with a knee injury, was sick and not at the rink today. It appears he won’t play for a while. “The way it’s going now, he’s been off the ice for this while, he won’t be playing until after the break,’’ Boudreau said. That means Dumba will miss at least three more games, vs. Dallas Thursday, vs. Nashville Saturday and vs. Chicago Tuesday. The Wild then have the five-day break before returning to game action against the L.A. Kings the 27th.