ANAHEIM, CALIF. – Ask Mike Yeo about the power play, and the Wild coach likely will grimace the way he did Wednesday morning.
The power play has been a sore subject for much of Yeo’s five-year tenure with the Wild (NHL rankings of 27th in 2011-12, 16th in 2012-13, 16th in 2013-14, 27th in 2014-15 and 24th this season), and it certainly has been lately with the Wild in a 1-for-32 skid after it went 0-for-3 in a 3-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night.
“We’ve tried a lot of different guys out there, so I don’t buy that theory that [we need to use] different guys,” Yeo said before the game. “There’s not many guys minus the guys that aren’t our main penalty killers that haven’t had an opportunity there at some point. We’ve changed the complexion of it, changed a couple things, and bottom line is these are the guys that are going to have to get us out of it.”
Against the Ducks, the Wild revamped personnel on both units and where players were positioned in an effort to get players where they’re most comfortable.
The forward units were to be Zach Parise with Mikael Granlund and Charlie Coyle, and Thomas Vanek with Mikko Koivu and Nino Niederreiter. The pointmen were to be Jason Pominville with Jared Spurgeon, and Matt Dumba with Ryan Suter.
Yeo said the goal was to get guys such as Granlund and Koivu setting things up where they’re most comfortable and players like Pominville, who entered with no points since Dec. 22, in a shooting position at the point. He also mentioned Parise having a history of scoring goals “down low on the goal line off the goalmouth.”
“I was pretty comfortable out there [on the right circle],” Parise said. “It was a learning thing. I’ve never been up there before, but I liked it and thought I was getting more and more comfortable.”
Parise didn’t necessarily think everything needed to be overhauled. He feels the downtrodden power play is simply because the Wild hasn’t had a lot of practices since Christmas and hasn’t drawn a lot of power plays.
“We were getting one [power play] a game, but we weren’t scoring that one,” Parise said, referring to the 1.9 power plays per game the past 15 games. “We haven’t had a lot of reps in practice or in games where that stuff becomes natural. We didn’t have that patience and comfort knowing what to do with it, and that’s what happens when you don’t get reps in games or practice time.
“So hopefully these work, and we’ll go from there.”
The Wild has the league’s sixth-best home power play at 23.9 percent but ranks 29th at 9.1 percent (6-for-66) on the road. In the last 15 road games of last season, the Wild was 2-for-28, meaning the Wild is 8 for its past 94 (8.5 percent) over 37 road games.
“It’s a strange thing,” Yeo said. “There’s no rhyme or reason for that. We just have to find a way to be more effective on the road. It’s been a big source of the problem, there’s no question.”
Parise said not scoring on the power play has affected the Wild’s five-on-five play, and vice versa.
“When they’re both not going, it’s hard to feel good about anything offensively,” he said.
Bolts suspend Drouin
The Tampa Bay Lightning suspended forward Jonathan Drouin indefinitely for not showing up for the AHL Syracuse Crunch’s game Wednesday night. Drouin, the third overall pick in the 2013 NHL draft, has been the subject of trade rumors since agent Allan Walsh went public Jan. 3 with their November trade request.
The Wild is one of several teams having trade talks with Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman.
• Pominville bowled a 230 at the Wild’s charity bowling event Sunday. “That was the first time I bowled since this event last year,” Pominville said. “It’s a cool event and fun for the fans to interact with us.”
• Defenseman Tyson Strachan was scratched.