When coach Dean Evason moved Mats Zuccarello onto a line with Kirill Kaprizov and Victor Rask, the Wild suddenly had a potent top trio. It combined for 14 points in its first two games together, and 16 goals and 28 assists in 16 games since Feb. 20.
Over the past three games, however, the line has been largely shut down, held to Rask's goal, assisted by Zuccarello, in Thursday's 5-1 loss at Colorado.
The Wild had to find scoring from other sources, and in Monday's 2-1 victory over Anaheim, it was defenseman Ryan Suter's first goal of the season and the solid work of the fourth line of Nick Bjugstad, Nick Bonino and Nico Sturm that came through.
"We've talked about that all year, the contributions from all of our 'D' and both of our goaltenders, and all four of our lines,'' said Bjugstad, whose goal 3:42 into the third period, his fifth of the season, put the Wild ahead for good. "You gotta pitch in when you can. That Kaprizov line, Zuccarello, they've contributed a ton. There's going to be some nights where teams are matching up nice against them, and they still had their chances, but it's a good full team effort.''
Suter's goal tied the score 1-1 at 16:21 of the second period and came with the man advantage after two previous unsuccessful power plays in the period.
"Big goal by Sutes,'' Bjugstad said. "That was a great all-around play on the power play. Obviously, we've had our chances.''
The Wild's power play went 1-for-3 Monday, leaving it at 9-for-97 on the season, last in the NHL at 9.3%.
Parise makes presence known
Though he was held without a point for the fourth consecutive game, Wild veteran Zach Parise was a factor in Monday's game, providing energy on the forecheck and drawing two Ducks penalties. He nearly scored on the second one, when Jacob Larsson was forced to hook him to prevent a tap-in goal.
"I felt good. I've felt like I've been playing that way for the last little bit,'' said Parise, who has three goals and nine assists in 29 games. "Haven't been able to find the way onto the score sheet, but I like the way that it's going. Trying to do the best I can out there, but I feel like it's going the right direction.''
Ducks don't practice because of COVID-19
Danton Heinen, Ben Hutton, Jacob Larsson and Anthony Stolarz of the Ducks were listed on the NHL's COVID-19 protocols list Tuesday after the Ducks canceled practice.
Hutton and Larsson played Monday, and Stolarz was the backup goalie. Heinen was a healthy scratch.
A Wild spokesman said as of Tuesday afternoon that Wednesday's game was on as scheduled. The teams undergo usual COVID-19 testing on the morning of a game day.
The Wild also announced that goalie Andrew Hammond has been placed on the NHL's COVID-19 protocol. To fill Hammond's spot on the taxi squad, the team called up goalie Dereck Baribeau from Iowa of the AHL.
The Wild also reassigned forwards Conor Dewar and Luke Johnson to Iowa.
Limited number of tickets on sale
When the Wild returns home April 6 after a four-day road trip that starts Monday, up to 3,000 fans will be allowed in Xcel Energy Center, part of the state's easing of COVID-19 restrictions. Season ticket-holders were be given priority to purchase tickets. The team's website, wild.com, will have information on single-game tickets should those be made available.