If the Wild needed any more proof its luck has changed heading into Saturday’s game at Washington, it came late in Thursday’s 6-4 comeback victory over Nashville.
Marcus Foligno grabbed a loose puck in front of the net and tried firing a shot, only to whiff and see the puck go the opposite direction. But that deked All-Star goaltender Pekka Rinne, too.
The puck landed right on Eric Staal’s stick, and he flipped the puck over Rinne’s pad for the tying goal. Foligno went from frustration to sheer jubilation in a split second.
“Guys were saying, ‘Sick pass — it was all planned!’ ” Foligno said Friday. “I went along with it. ‘Yeah, I meant to do that.’ Sometimes you’d rather be lucky than good.”
Jason Zucker, who scored the game winner moments later, said, “We were giving [Foligno] a hard time about how good his vision is.
“But sometimes that’s the way it works. We had plenty of games this year when we had bounces off the boards and off [goalie Devan Dubnyk] and in. So sometimes it’s nice to get those bounces.”
Another line shuffle
Coach Bruce Boudreau reshuffled his lines midgame and stuck with that lineup for Friday’s practice. The lines went: Mikael Granlund-Mikko Koivu-Zucker; Foligno-Staal-Nino Niederreiter; Daniel Winnik-Joel Eriksson Ek-Luke Kunin; Chris Stewart-Matt Cullen-Tyler Ennis.
“Yeah,” Boudreau said, “and they may change in the first period [Saturday]. … I tried Marcus on that [Staal] line about a week ago, and he didn’t have very good games. But I wanted to give him a crack at it again, and I thought he came in and did a lot of good things.”
Zucker has scored eight goals over the past five games, so any line would welcome him.
He was with Staal and Niederreiter before returning to his familiar place with Koivu and Granlund.
“I thought Staal, Nino and I were gaining some chemistry, so I feel comfortable on either line,” Zucker said. “I just think [Thursday] night, we had to create a spark somehow.”
Dubnyk rest coming?
Friday’s practice offered hints that backup goalie Alex Stalock could make Saturday’s start, with Dubnyk getting a chance to rest after making eight consecutive starts.
“Eventually, we’re going to sit him again, yeah,” Boudreau said. “I don’t know when it’s going to be, but we’ve got five games in the next eight nights, so I’m sure it’ll be split up pretty well.”
On Stalock, who hasn’t started since Halloween in a 2-1 loss to Winnipeg, Boudreau added, “We know what he can do. I mean, he practices hard every day, so it’s not a worry about anything of rust or anything when he goes in the net.”
Coach’s cringe factor
The Capitals are coming off losses of 6-3 (to Nashville) and 6-2 (to Colorado).
Asked if that losing streak by his former team makes him happy or cringe, Boudreau said, “Oh, it’s a cringe time because, I mean, that team is not used to losing. And I’m sure they’re hearing it today. For some reason, I follow that team a little bit, and that doesn’t happen very often where they get beat badly and don’t come back with their best game the next night.”