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Power Play, Three-On-Three Worked In Wild Practice

by Evan Sporer / Minnesota Wild

With three days separating the Minnesota Wild and its next game, the Wild took the Xcel Energy ice for practice, primarily for situational work, on Tuesday.

Both the power play and three-on-three were focal points of the session, and Head Coach Mike Yeo said the time between games affords Minnesota the opportunity to review those kinds of things.

"We had an opportunity today, and we'll work it again on Thursday to try some different looks, and some different personnel (on the power play)," Yeo said. "Get an idea of what direction we want to go in going forward."

The Wild tried a number of different five-on-four combinations on Tuesday, including using Jason Pominville and Marco Scandella on the top unit. 

In one iteration, Pominville played the half-wall opposite Parise. On the other, Scandella took Parise's spot, bumping Parise into the middle, and shifting Mikko Koivu onto the half-wall.

"They're just different looks," Parise said. "I don't think we're getting the puck up to the top enough, and we're just kind of getting ourselves in trouble. It's really only a matter of a couple of feet. We're jamming ourselves right now, and it's why we're really not getting much."

Mikael Granlund was being used on the second unit playing on the half-wall. Jason Pominville and Charlie Coyle alternated in-and-out with that group.

"You have to take advantage of it," Coyle said. "It's something you have to work for, and show that you deserve to be out there.

"I'm just a big body, so a little net-front presence, or just being a good support guy in the middle for some outs, and just to bring my compete level there, too."

Parise and Yeo both said the power play is close, which makes the adjustments the Wild are making easier.

"It was just a chance to talk about a couple of things, and it is just a matter of positioning and a couple of feet," Yeo said. "Just getting yourself in a position where you're more of a threat, where we're kind of in shooting lanes as opposed to being in position where they're in shot-blocking lanes."

When the power play portion finished up, the Wild went into three-on-three. After losing to the Colorado Avalanche in overtime on Monday, the Wild fell to 1-5 on the season in the new overtime format.

"We have to continue to try to find ways to get better at it, we definitely have to practice it, and it's up to us as a staff to try to do everything we can to get an advantage anywhere," Yeo said. "But we can overthink this, too. Bottom line is outside of the two Dallas games, we've out-chanced every team in overtime pretty much two-to-one."

Against the Avalanche, the Wild had its opportunities, with Ryan Suter opening the overtime with a good look, and Parise getting one off a rush later.

"There are going to be chances for, and there are going to be chances against, and to put it real simple, we didn't finish on our chances, and they finished on theirs," Yeo said.


One of the objectives for Mike Reilly in the six days he's been up with the Wild has been to play the role of sponge. 

Whether it's picking the brain of Assistant Coach Darryl Sydor, studying the Wild defensemen, or simply being around the professional game, Reilly has had plenty of opportunities for growth.

His latest came on his first NHL road trip when the Wild traveled to Colorado.

"It was something you look forward to, and you look at how professional they are, and how they prepare for each game kind of blew me away a little bit," he said. "It just shows that being around here for the last few days, I feel like I've grown here, and I'm still waiting to get into my first game, but it's great to watch the game, dial it in, and try to take some things out of it."

His stall mate Matt Dumba said there weren't quite teaching moments for Reilly, but more just being there for him.

"We're good buddies, so just hanging out, and just taking it all in," Dumba said. "It's a new experience for him, but I'm just trying to get him to enjoy this, and have fun with it. Get better every day, and hopefully it makes him a better player."

Dumba recalled his first NHL road trip, which elicited a modest grin.

"It was to St. Louis, actually, when I was 18," Dumba said. Me and [Jared Spurgeon] were rooming together.

"We were at a pretty cool hotel. We ordered room service, and that was the big leagues for me. I thought that was pretty cool."


Devan Dubnyk, who missed the game on Monday with a mild groin strain, did not skate on Tuesday.

"He wanted to skate today, and we just felt with a day off tomorrow that today wasn't really going to do him any good as far making him a better goaltender," Yeo said. "But I'm pretty sure that having an extra day of rest will definitely give him a better chance to heal up.

"He wanted to skate, he feels he's ready to skate, so I have a real strong feeling we'll see him on Thursday for practice."

Yeo also said Tyler Graovac was cleared for full practice on Tuesday.

"He's been moving, and he's been skating for a while here," Yeo said. "Not a ton of battle in our practice today as far as d-zone coverage, and down-low work in even-strength situations, but all-in-all, he's skating well.

"The next step is to definitely get into some more contact drills."

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