DALLAS – The Wild's depth didn't just show up offensively Saturday, a 5-1 blowout of the Kings at Xcel Energy Center that featured a goal from each of the four forward lines.
That balanced attack was also captured in the distribution of ice time.
Every forward played under 19 minutes, the first time that's happened in a winning effort this season, and that's a template the Wild can continue to pursue if it keeps receiving contributions from throughout the lineup.
"It was a good example of how we would like things done," coach Bruce Boudreau said.
Although some players have occasionally logged more than 20 minutes, like when center Eric Staal skated 21:04 in the 4-3 victory over the Canadiens on Oct. 20, Boudreau's objective is 18 minutes for the majority of the forwards with the fourth-liners eating up at least 10 minutes.
"I don't really think it's beneficial to our team to have forwards playing 20-plus minutes," Boudreau said.
This approach has eased the workload for a few of the veterans; the average ice times after Saturday's game for Staal (16:20), captain Mikko Koivu (17:41) and winger Zach Parise (16:55) were less than each's career average.
On the flip side, Joel Eriksson Ek (13:12), Marcus Foligno (14:47) and Ryan Hartman (12:56) were all playing more than their career averages — increased opportunity that the three seem to be capitalizing on, with Eriksson Ek scoring Saturday and Foligno and Hartman setting up a Koivu goal.
"You never know how it's going to be, [so] do the best with what you got," Parise said.
Matchups and special teams also factor into usage so while Saturday's deployment might be the target, it isn't necessarily always attainable.
But it is proof the Wild can be successful rolling four lines when all four lines deserve it.
"We're playing to win," Boudreau said. "So whoever's going the best and we need them, they're going to play."
The Wild activated Kevin Fiala from injured reserve, but the winger didn't get back in the lineup against the Stars.
Instead, Fiala was scratched for the second time this season after missing the previous three games because of a lower-body injury. In seven games, Fiala has only one assist.
"We expect more from him," Boudreau said. "He's a guy that we're counting on. He's coming off an injury but in the whole scheme of things, we need him to be one of our most offensive players, power-play guy and everything else. So far it hasn't worked but I think the message has gotten through, and he'll be back in the lineup really soon because we could use the offense."
Winger Jordan Greenway did return to action in Dallas after sitting out the past two games while going through concussion protocol, and goalie Devan Dubnyk backed up Alex Stalock — Dubnyk's first appearance since Oct.22 when he suffered an upper-body injury from a collision in the crease that knocked him on his back.
Boudreau chatted with Nick Seeler after practice Monday, telling the defenseman "to hang in there."
Seeler was scratched for the 10th time through 12 games Tuesday.
"I said it has nothing to do with him," Boudreau continued. "I just think [Carson] Soucy and [Brad] Hunt are playing really good right now, and I can't take them out of the lineup. We have all the belief and faith in you. It's not happening right now, but it's a long season."
• The Iowa Wild assigned prospect Dmitry Sokolov to the Allen Americans of the ECHL. Sokolov has skated in only one game with Iowa this season after the forward tallied 16 goals and 30 points in 60 games in 2018-19 as a rookie for Iowa.