VANCOUVER – Snap more shots on net. Check.
Log meaty minutes in all situations. Done.
Rediscover his swagger. Mission accomplished.
Wild rookie Jordan Greenway fulfilled every one of the objectives he was assigned when getting diverted to the American Hockey League on Friday for a two-game stint to ignite his offensive potential, but the tuneup will be hailed a success once he translates that effectiveness to the NHL — Greenway’s focus now that he is back with the Wild.
“I’m just looking to keep that confidence going and build off it up here,” he said.
As expected, the Wild recalled Greenway on Sunday after he excelled in the AHL. He rejoined the team for the start of the Western Canada section of its seven-game road swing Monday, then scored his first career regular-season NHL goal in the first period of what ended up a 5-2 loss to the Canucks.
He scored a hat trick Saturday and put five shots on net in two games, more than halfway to the eight he registered in nine games with the Wild. Greenway had only one assist to show for that effort, and he accepted the stint in Iowa with the mind-set that he would become more aggressive when the puck’s on his stick — an approach he plans to keep.
“It’ll help my game out a lot,” he said.
The end of the week was a whirlwind, with Greenway playing three games in as many nights, but he appreciated it and gained perspective on what it means to make it to the NHL.
“You go down there, and you see all the guys — that’s what they’re all fighting for down there,” he said. “So it humbles myself, and it just makes me work a little bit harder and focus on all the things the coaching staff’s telling me and everything I need to work on. It was definitely a humbling experience.”
Rising to the challenge
Trust didn’t develop overnight, but it was during coach Bruce Boudreau’s first season at the helm of the Wild that he realized defenseman Jonas Brodin could handle tough assignments.
“We might have been playing somebody who had great skaters, and the skating didn’t bother him,” Boudreau said. “It didn’t matter who it was, he was able to catch them. When he’s playing really good, he’s got a great stick and it’s very hard to beat. Those are things you look at and when he’s on his game, it makes life pretty easy for you.”
That was certainly the case Saturday in the 3-2 victory over the Avalanche, with Brodin racking up more ice time against Colorado’s first line than any other Wild player, according to Natural Stat Trick. Brodin played 10 minutes, 55 seconds against Gabriel Landeskog, 11:25 vs. Nathan MacKinnon and 11:37 opposite Mikko Rantanen. The trio combined for just two points.
“It’s a good challenge to play against the best players in the league,” said Brodin, who also chipped in the game-winning goals Saturday and Thursday. “Of course I’m taking that.”
Left to right
Following a 0-for-14 skid, the Wild’s power play finally busted out of its funk Saturday on a one-timer from center Eric Staal.
Replacing one left shot (Nino Niederreiter) on the all-lefty unit with a righthander (Charlie Coyle), a tweak Boudreau anticipated giving another look to start Monday night’s game against the Canucks. Even after Staal’s goal, just the fourth for the group, the Wild remained one of the least effective teams with the man advantage at 12.9 percent — 27th in the NHL.
“Everything’s adjustable,” Boudreau said. “If it’s going well and it hadn’t been going well, then we’re just going to change it on the fly and put some other people in there.”
Boudreau snagged his 100th regular-season victory with the Wild on Saturday, becoming the fastest to reach the milestone in franchise history at 174 games.
Of Boudreau’s predecessors, Jacques Lemaire took 262 games to reach 100 victories, while Mike Yeo required 206.
Boudreau is also only the 16th coach in NHL history to record 100 victories with at least three teams. He won 201 games with the Capitals and 208 with the Ducks.
Hendricks not on trip
Veteran forward Matt Hendricks did not accompany the Wild to Canada. He missed the past four games because of a lower-body injury.