The Wild found a formula that worked Friday against the Ducks, pulling out a 3-2 win in overtime to improve to 1-1 on its three-game tour of California.
But the team could mix up its look for the trip finale Sunday in San Jose when it visits the Sharks by playing backup Alex Stalock.
“Starting tomorrow we got five games in seven nights or eight nights or something like that,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “It’s going to be tough. We’re going to need both of them. So at some point, Alex is going to play whether it’s tomorrow or whether it’s against Calgary (Tuesday) or whomever. But the storyline says it would be nice for him to play tomorrow.”
Before joining the Wild organization ahead of the 2016-17 season, Stalock went 24-19-7 with a 2.37 goals-against average and .911 save percentage in 62 games (46 starts) over five seasons with the Sharks. The 30-year-old was drafted by San Jose in the fourth round, 112th overall, in 2005.
The Wild could also make a tweak to its defense by inserting Gustav Olofsson, who has been a healthy scratch the last three games. Earlier this week, Boudreau said Olofsson would play on the trip.
During Saturday’s practice at Honda Center in Anaheim before the team departed for San Jose, Olofsson worked with Nate Prosser on a third pairing that had Mike Reilly rotating in to take reps.
After the game Friday, Boudreau said veteran center Matt Cullen would be back in the lineup Sunday after sitting as a healthy scratch against the Ducks – his first absence of the season.
Cullen worked with center Joel Eriksson Ek and wingers Tyler Ennis and Chris Stewart Saturday – a session the Wild used to work on its board play and reinforce how well the defense transitioned up ice against the Ducks by skating together and moving the puck.
“We just wanted to continue that,” Boudreau said. “Sometimes you do it once, and then you forget about it and don’t ever do it again. So I just wanted to remind them about that.”