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Wild Players Still Getting Back Into Swing

by Evan Sporer / Minnesota Wild

The majority of Wild skaters expected to play in Tuesday's preseason game against the Winnipeg Jets did not play in Monday's opener against the Buffalo Sabres.

That means Tuesday is much like Monday again when it comes to objectives: Keeping things simple, getting back up to game speed, and building toward the season opener on October 8th.

"Tonight we just have to establish our game plan, kind of get back to the basics and keeping it simple early to get a feel and get the legs going into the game," Justin Fontaine said. "It's going to definitely be different than the scrimmages, and I definitely think we're ready and prepared."

As was the case with the group that played on Monday, this will give many players a chance to get into something closer to a regular season game, playing against someone other than their Wild teammates.

"You've been scrimmaging all summer, and through training camp, and you're ready for a real setting and a real type of game," Jordan Schroeder said. "I know we're all looking forward to it. We have to bring some of the concepts of our team game into tonight, and really put in the effort."

Schroeder said Tuesday's game in Winnipeg, at the MTS Centre, would be a good opening test in a hostile building to play in. He said he would be concentrating on shoring things up in his own zone.

"Really solid defensively, creating turnovers, and that leads to offense, and I can use my speed then," he said. "I'm really going to focus on the defensive side of things, and do the little things right, and go from there."

Though these players are also getting into a game after three days of training camp, after watching on Monday night, anticipation has been building.

"Obviously it comes quick, but it feels like we've been on the ice for so long already that, it feels nice to play," Erik Haula said. "I'm really excited to get back in the swing of things."

For the second straight day, the Wild worked on the power play during morning skate on Tuesday. The units are still getting worked out, especially with some players getting into the lineup for the first time, and some not playing who played on Monday.

The Wild power play went 1-for-3 against the Sabres, and also conceded a shorthanded goal.

"We just have to communicate every time we're out there, even coming off to see how the other team is playing, and where there are openings," Fontaine said. "The more you talk, the easier it will be out there."

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