LOS ANGELES – Lulls in seasons happen to the best of teams.
Jarret Stoll was reminded of that Thursday hours before the former Los Angeles center returned to the Staples Center for the first time after playing seven years and winning two Stanley Cups with the Kings.
In 2013-14 around this time of year, Stoll never could have envisioned hoisting the Cup again later that season. That’s because between Dec. 24 and Feb. 3, the Kings won five of 21 games, including stretches of five losses in a row and nine losses in 10 games.
The Wild entered Stoll’s homecoming Thursday with losses in five consecutive games and in eight of 10 games in January. But Stoll said it “doesn’t take much” to break out of a funk, something the Wild has actually proven the past two years.
“It could take only one game, it could take a big third period to come out and pull out a win,” Stoll said. “We’ve got to start something here. We’ve had meetings. You can talk all you want but you’ve got to get out there and do it. You’ve got to find ways to win games. [Wednesday in Anaheim], we were tied going into the third period against a good team and we didn’t find a way to win that.
“Those are the games you’ve got to find a way to get points out of.”
Stoll — who still lives in nearby Hermosa Beach, checked in on his home Tuesday afternoon, “laid in my bed for 20 minutes” and saw friends Tuesday night — was nervous heading into Thursday.
Stoll is still very close with several former Kings teammates such as Matt Greene, Drew Doughty, Jeff Carter, Trevor Lewis and Anze Kopitar, “who’s suddenly richer” after signing an eight-year, $80 million extension.
“We had a very, very close team, and we all lived close together,” Stoll said. “We had a really good bond, and I still do a lot with those guys. I can’t say anything negative about my seven years there.”
Schroeder gets a shot
In an attempt to infuse speed, energy and maybe a little offense, the Wild recalled Jordan Schroeder from AHL Iowa. Schroeder had no goals, one assist and 11 shots in 11 games earlier this season for the Wild, but he added a spark to the team last winter and never left.
Plus, with tension in the room, Wild GM Chuck Fletcher believed it would be a tough environment to insert a young Iowa player right now.
Justin Fontaine, who has no goals and three assists in the past 20 games, was scratched for Schroeder.
Asked if there was any chance he would sit a struggling veteran to make a statement rather than a third- or fourth-liner, coach Mike Yeo said: “Listen, no, I’m not going to take one of our key guys or one of our leaders or one of the guys that we count on to score out. That game [Wednesday in Anaheim] was similar to the game before [in Nashville] and very similar to a lot of our games. It was right there for us.
“I mean, we’re doing enough things to give ourselves a chance to win, but I look at the third period, when things are going the way they are right now, where you slip a little bit, it’s not big things, it’s little things. You look at the [winning] goal against, shouldn’t happen.”
• Thomas Vanek has no shots in four consecutive games and three goals in the past 18 games. “We’ve got to get him back shooting the puck,” Yeo said. “In the early part of the year, he was shooting the puck and putting himself in position to allow guys to get him into a shooting positon and he was creating so much off his shot.”
• Fox Sports North will televise the Feb. 20 Stadium Series North Stars/Wild-vs.-Blackhawks alumni game at TCF Bank Stadium. An announcement is expected soon.