ST. LOUIS – Maybe the most amazing part of the Wild’s 18-4-1 post-All-Star break run is the fact that Minnesota’s power play continues to be for the birds.
During the 23-game stretch, the Wild is 7-for-56 on the power play (12.5 percent) and 3-for-35 in the previous 15 games (8.6 percent).
The power play ranks 28th in the NHL (14.9 percent) and 30th on the road (10.2 percent). The Wild hasn’t scored a road power-play goal since Feb. 1 (nine games, 7-1-1) and is 1 for its past 22 in 12 road games (10-1-1).
“The guys that are on the power play have been playing great hockey, doing a good job at both ends of the ice, but at some point here going forward, we’re going to need to rely on it, we’re going to need it to win a game or two for us along the way,” coach Mike Yeo said.
One reason to blame, Yeo and players say, is because the Wild just doesn’t practice a lot anymore.
In order to keep fuel in the tank with so many games, Yeo has usually made the days between games rest and recovery days. Players often have either full days off or optional ones.
The Wild won’t practice Sunday but will Monday in advance of Tuesday’s game at Nashville.
“We’ve got to practice it. No practice, it’s not going to be good,” said Zach Parise, who leads the Wild with nine power-play goals. “I think we need to practice it more and get a little more familiar. It hasn’t been good enough. Not even close. Luckily we score a lot of 5-on-5 goals.”
Yeo tweaked his No. 1 and 2 units Saturday, moving Matt Dumba to the first unit with Parise, Mikko Koivu, Ryan Suter and Jason Pominville, and moving Thomas Vanek to the second unit with Chris Stewart, Nino Niederreiter, Mikael Granlund and Jared Spurgeon.
“We’re talking more and more about it,” Yeo said after Friday’s 2-1 loss to Anaheim — a game the Wild went 1-for-5 on the power play but failed twice with a chance to tie the score. “It hasn’t been an issue because we’ve been winning games.
“We’ve been reluctant to make too many switches partly because we don’t have the practice time to give everybody the feel before they go into the game. But certainly it’s something going forward that we’re going to have to address. This time of year, one goal is huge.”
A ‘Swede’ from Calgary
Dumba hails from Calgary, but he has become an honorary Swede. Dumba’s best bud, Jonas Brodin, and roommate, Christian Folin, have been teaching the rookie defenseman Swedish.
Dumba had a decent understanding because his friend John Persson, an Islanders prospect, taught him some words playing junior hockey. He learned more at his first Wild development camp when he roomed with Brodin.
“He’s really good,” said Brodin, who even texts Dumba in Swedish.
“Sometimes he has to ask what Brods is saying,” Folin said. “We started with simple stuff, like some not-so nice words. Those are easy to remember.”
• One common question from Wild fans is who picks the music played in warmups at Xcel Energy Center.
The answer is Dumba.
“[Marco Scandella, Brodin] and me, we all listen to some pretty good music and stuff that’s got a good feel to it,” Dumba said.
“The guys put me in charge. Then I give the songs and the times to my younger brother, Kyle, and he DJ’s it.”
• Defenseman Nate Prosser suffered a lower-body injury Saturday. Yeo said he doesn’t think it’s extremely serious, but Prosser is questionable for Tuesday’s game at Nashville
• Jordan Schroeder and Folin were scratched.
• It was goalie Niklas Backstrom’s turn to be scratched, so he didn’t travel to St. Louis.