Any point by the Wild in its next two games or lost point by the Blackhawks in their next three means Bruce Boudreau will coach the Central Division in the All-Star Game later this month here in Los Angeles.
As I mentioned last night, the coaches with the best points percentage in each division through Tuesday’s NHL contests coach in the Game. The Wild leads the West with a .703 points percentage, let alone the Central (Chicago’s second at .646).
When I asked Boudreau if he and his wife have any plans during All-Star Weekend, he said, “no,” then realized what I was inferring.
“Don’t bring it up. Just shut up. Just shut up,” Boudreau said.
I’ve had coaches tell me before to shut up, but not one with as big a smile.
Moods were jolly down at the Kings’ practice facility in El Segundo today hours after the Wild rallied from 2-0 and 4-2 deficits to beat the San Jose Sharks.
Nino Niederreiter remained on his off wing with Zach Parise and Eric Staal after that elevation in lines spurred last night’s comeback.
The Jason Zucker-Mikko Koivu-Mikael Granlund line was obviously untouched.
Jason Pominville played the left side of Erik Haula and Charlie Coyle, and Jordan Schroeder and Kurtis Gabriel took turns with Tyler Graovac and Chris Stewart.
Niederreiter likes playing right wing coming into the offensive zone (recall his 2014 Game 7 OT winner in Denver), but he admits it’ll take adjustments defensively.
Boudreau joked he only moved Niederreiter to right wing last night because he kept giving away the puck on the left side, so he figured maybe he’d stop doing that on the right.
How about Koivu? Last 19 games, he has scored nine goals, 20 points and is plus-20.
Granlund has five two-point games in his past six.
The Wild leads the West in goals, goal differential and goals against, although it has allowed four goals in four of the past five games.
Boudreau said the Wild’s doing the right things to get the opportunities offensively this year, and “hopefully we have enough skill that we put them in.”
He did not they scored five yesterday and still missed some open-netters (two by Zucker).
He likes the Wild’s ability to come back this season. The Wild has done that 11 times this season, and he said it’s been needed lately because there’s have been some “leaky buckets.” Two weeks ago, the Wild didn’t need to come back because it almost always was tied or had the lead.
“You don’t want to be behind everyday in the third period,” he said.
Darcy Kuemper is expected to start vs. the Kings, Devan Dubnyk in Anaheim.
Kuemper is 2-0-1 in four games in L.A. with a 0.98 goals-against average and .967 save percentage. Talk Saturday.
I’ll be on KFAN in a few minutes.