NASHVILLE – Marco Scandella might have been on the ice for all four goals in Saturday’s overtime loss against Anaheim, but the Wild defenseman will play Tuesday night against Nashville and continue to be paired with Jared Spurgeon.
“It’s a matter of just one game,” coach Mike Yeo said Monday. “I don’t think we should sit here after two games in the regular season and start to say this guy’s got to come out of the lineup because he hasn’t been performing.
“Marco, he’s a young kid, too. We have to show him some confidence and help get him through some of these times. We’ve seen what his best play is and what he’s capable of and it’s up to us to try to get that out of him.”
Defenseman Clayton Stoner, scratched Saturday, is expected to play Tuesday alongside Keith Ballard. Rookie Matt Dumba is expected to sit after making his NHL debut against the Ducks.
Veteran right winger Dany Heatley, who has come into camp lighter and says he is determined to resurrect his career, had a rough first couple of games. For now, he will continue skating in a second-line role.
“I watched some video with him [Monday] morning and it’s safe to say there’s another level, there’s another gear there,” Yeo said. “We talked about that, we showed it. He had a great practice [Monday]. I see him doing extra skating after practice. That’s a good sign. It’s not uncommon to see a lot of bigger bodies take a little longer to get up to full stride.”
Zach Parise, who scored his first two goals of the season Saturday, left Monday’s practice immediately, not feeling well. He did fly to Nashville with the team and is expected to play.
With Parise absent, Justin Fontaine skated on the first line, and injured Mike Rupp, trying to work his way back from offseason knee surgery, skated fourth-line shifts.
“That’s what he needs,” Yeo said of Rupp even though he was “fast-forwarded” into practice sooner than the team expected. “He needs to get into some game situations; he needs to get moving and battling. The more of that we can do, the quicker along it will come.”
Yeo didn’t divulge whether Niklas Backstrom or Josh Harding will start in goal against the Predators.