DALLAS – Marco Scandella, who has been at his ailing father’s side back home in Montreal, returned to the Wild on Saturday and was able to play against the Dallas Stars.
The Wild’s freewheeling defenseman played despite not having practiced with the team since logging 21 minutes against Tampa Bay the previous Saturday, and he scored a third-period, tying goal. Because of travel delays in Atlanta late Friday, he didn’t arrive in Dallas until after midnight.
“It’s not ideal. It’s not the perfect situation, but he’s too valuable a player for us to sit around and not have him play,” coach Mike Yeo, earlier in the day Saturday, said of dressing Scandella without practicing. “I’m not worried about his conditioning. Timingwise, my advice to him was, ‘Let’s just keep it simple from the start of the game and get a good feel and get yourself back into it.’ ”
Scandella, who is asking for privacy, looked excited to be back around his teammates.
Asked how Scandella’s mind-set was before an impressive game, Yeo said: “Obviously, it’s as good as it can be, I guess.”
The Wild dressed seven defensemen and 11 forwards against the offensively explosive Stars rather than play called-up right wing Brett Bulmer. There were many reasons, including the fact that a couple of Wild defensemen, including Matt Dumba, are playing hurt.
Assistant coach Rick Wilson was tasked with rotating the seven defensemen. Christian Folin got a regular shift with Scandella, while Nate Prosser only played five shifts totaling 2:35, all on the penalty kill.
Yeo rolled three lines with different forwards — Ryan Carter, Jordan Schroeder, Erik Haula and Chris Porter — playing with Charlie Coyle as that third line.
Yeo wasn’t worried about loading up the ice time on others because the Wild didn’t practice Friday, won’t practice Sunday and plays next in Pittsburgh on Tuesday.
Stars coach Lindy Ruff had Wild forwards Thomas Vanek, who has seven goals, and Jason Pominville, who has zero, for years in Buffalo.
“There are two things that surprise me: [Vanek’s] start and Pominville’s lack of scoring,” Ruff said.
Ruff gushed over a couple of highlight-reel goals by Vanek lately.
“The slapshot one [on a breakaway] made me smile because I’ve seen him in shootouts do it,” Ruff said. “I mean, he’s got an incredibly accurate shot.”
As for the snakebit Pominville, Ruff said: “He’ll get out of this. He does all the right things. If he wasn’t getting scoring chances, I’d worry. But he’s getting scoring chances.”
Stars forward Antoine Roussel, one of two NHLers from France, had a French flag decal on his helmet during Saturday’s game. Roussel’s parents were in Paris on Friday, the day of the terrorist attacks, but are fine.
• Zach Parise (sprained knee), who has missed four games, is feeling better, although he has not yet started skating.
• Schroeder is sporting a shiner under his left eye and a broken nose after taking a puck to the face Thursday at Carolina. His visor was split in half.