EDMONTON, Alberta – The Wild will roll out a lineup Wednesday in its only exhibition tuneup that will be similar to how the team anticipates debuting in its qualifying-round series with Vancouver on Sunday, but coach Dean Evason still isn’t tipping his hand on who will be the team’s Game 1 starter.
Devan Dubnyk and Alex Stalock will split the action against Colorado and although Stalock is scheduled to start the game, Evason said not to read into that decision as an indication of the Wild’s plans.
“Evaluations are always still going on and no different tomorrow,” Evason said Tuesday on a video conference call from the team’s hotel in Edmonton.
Even though Dubnyk started the last game the Wild played March 8 in Anaheim, Stalock worked the bulk of the games leading up to the stoppage — going on a 9-3-1 run that helped the team stay in contention and, ultimately, get included in the 24-team tournament as part of the NHL’s return.
Evason said the goalies always are told who is playing the day before the game, which in this case is Saturday, so that’s when Stalock and Dubnyk will know who gets the first crack at the Canucks.
In the meantime, Stalock is focusing on rediscovering a rhythm with Wednesday’s game. Puck drop is 1:30 p.m., and the broadcast will be carried on Fox Sports North and 100.3 FM.
“The big thing is getting back into a pregame routine,” he said, “what you do generally before a game, your timing of everything, getting back to the rink and following your daily process leading up to a game and getting everything back and feeling comfortable, feeling normal. And obviously going through a full warmup, getting on the ice, getting the start and all that, getting some contact and some traffic and all that will be good.”
From a team perspective, Evason would like to see tight structure and players get acclimated to Rogers Place.
“It’s not like we can just ease into this,” he said. “You want to get the feel right away and get your bearings. We are going to have a situation where we are going to be in the building that we are playing and we can get the surroundings and the feel and all of that good stuff. When the puck is dropped, we want to see them play the right way and we want to see them play with the intensity level that is needed to play in a playoff atmosphere.”
The Wild will play host to a Game 1 watch party at the St. Paul Saints’ CHS Field on Sunday, with the action shown on the videoboard in left-center field.
The ballpark will be sectioned off in three distinct areas for seating to allow for social distancing, each with a designated entrance. Space is limited, and tickets are $5. Tickets can be purchased at saintsbaseball.com, and proceeds will benefit the Minnesota Wild Foundation.
Gates open for the event at 8 p.m. with puck drop at 9:30 p.m.
Aside from temperature checks upon entry, fans will be required to wear a face covering while entering and moving within the ballpark and will have to follow social distancing guidelines.
• Evason said no one was unavailable for the Wild’s practice Tuesday in Edmonton.
• Defenseman Matt Dumba said he was “very honored” to be named the Wild’s nominee for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, which recognizes the player who exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has contributed to his community.“It’s awesome,” Dumba said. “I don’t really have words for it. Just happy to be a part of something like that.”