GLENDALE, ARIZ. – Instead of resting one of his older forwards after sitting Mikko Koivu two nights earlier in Denver, Wild coach Bruce Boudreau gave Mikael Granlund the night off during Saturday’s regular-season finale at Arizona.
The scratch ended Granlund’s consecutive games streak at 199 games and prevented him from becoming the first Wild player since 2009-10 from reaching 70 points.
But Boudreau didn’t want to risk the health of his leading scorer with the playoffs on the horizon.
Defenseman Jared Spurgeon also missed a second game in a row because of a lower-body injury. Spurgeon could have played, but Boudreau didn’t want him to risk aggravating the injury.
“I told him, ‘You’re the only guy I know that could miss a couple games and it’s not going to hurt your timing or anything else,’ ” Boudreau said. “I’d rather have him 100 percent.”
Chris Stewart flew to Arizona after missing time with strep throat. He replaced Jordan Schroeder, who was scratched.
Boudreau talked to veterans Eric Staal and Zach Parise, who wanted to continue developing chemistry on their line with Nino Niederreiter. The trio had played well the previous three games.
“I like the way they’re playing,” Boudreau said. “I’d like them to continue to playing that well. You can’t sit everybody and I don’t think those guys want to sit, quite frankly.”
Darcy Kuemper, pulled in two of his past three starts and recently scratched in three consecutive games, got the nod in the Wild net Saturday.
“Give him a game and see how it feels,” Boudreau said of the decision to start Kuemper rather than Devan Dubnyk or recall Alex Stalock, who will be recalled in the next few days for the playoffs. “Hopefully, it goes well so if he does have to come into the playoffs, he feels good about himself.”
Hanzal hurt in return
Center Martin Hanzal, traded to the Wild on Feb. 26 after 10 seasons with the Coyotes, made his first return to the desert since the deal … and was welcomed back by taking a puck to the head during warmups.
Hanzal, one of the Wild players who doesn’t wear a helmet in warmups, was struck on the right side of the forehead with a shot that deflected off the crossbar. He left warmups, got stitched up and was able to play.
Hanzal had lunch Friday with old teammates and Czech Republic countrymen Radim Vrbata and Zbynek Michalek and dinner with old teammate Anthony Duclair.
Hanzal also was able to stop by his house to grab things he left behind when dealt.
“It’ll be a little different being on the other side,” he said before the game.
Hanzal entered the finale with three goals and 12 points in 19 games with the Wild and had won 60.4 percent of his faceoffs the past 13 games. Boudreau has loved the job Hanzal has done on the penalty kill.
“He’s been a good player,” Boudreau said. “It’s always tough at the beginning,” but Boudreau feels he has gotten used to his new teammates, the new system, has gotten better each game and more accomlimated off the ice.
Doan to retire?
Also Saturday was the potential of Coyotes captain Shane Doan, Hanzal’s close friend, playing his final game in the NHL. Doan has been part of the Coyotes since they played in Winnipeg in 1995.
Doan entered with only six goals and 26 points, his worst season since 1998-99.
The 40-year-old doesn’t know yet if he will retire. “I really don’t know,” Doan told arizonasports.com. “I truly wish I did. It would make everything so much easier to be able to give a definitive answer. There’s a chance I come back and play; there’s a chance I don’t.”
Doan held the franchise records for games played (1,539), goals (402), assists (569), points (971), power-play goals (128) and game-winning goals (69).