It would seem Minnesota Wild coach Bruce Boudreau has an itch. And he’s been scratching it.
In the first half-dozen games of the season, Boudreau has sat healthy forwards Victor Rask, Ryan Donato and Kevin Fiala on various nights. All three players were acquired by former general manager Paul Fenton last season.
Whether those three are in the lineup Thursday when Minnesota meets the Canadiens in Montreal remains to be seen.
Fiala was the latest to get a seat in the press box for Tuesday’s 4-2 loss in Toronto that dropped the Wild to 1-5-0.
“I just think we can get more out of him,” Boudreau said. “He’s a really skilled player, and for our team, we need more from our skilled players. It’s as simple as that. We sat Ryan Donato the other day and he came back and I thought performed really well. We are hoping for the same effect on Kevin.”
Fiala expressed his frustration about sitting out.
“I want to be in the lineup, like everybody in this league,” he told reporters. “I’m not happy at all right now. The next time I’m in, I’m going to try everything to make sure this doesn’t happen anymore.”
Fiala has no goals and one assist thus far this season.
“Obviously, I’ve got to be better,” Fiala said. “I didn’t show what I can do these few games. The good thing is it’s still the beginning of the season; just keep working hard and hope for the best.”
The Wild opened the season with four straight losses before a 2-0 victory at lowly Ottawa on Monday. They failed to build on that against the Maple Leafs despite a goal by Gerald Mayhew in his NHL debut.
“It is frustrating,” said winger Luke Kunin, whose first-period goal gave the Wild a 1-0 lead before Toronto scored four times in the second.
“We are working hard. We are trying to do the right things. It’s just a couple things here and there each game. You saw we played the full 60 minutes in Ottawa and good things happened.”
Canadiens coach Claude Julien is looking for a full 60 from his team, which suffered a 3-1 loss at home Tuesday to Tampa Bay despite scoring first. Montreal dropped to 1-2-0 this season at the Bell Centre.
“After we scored first, we started to be soft,” Julien said. “If we want to have success, you have to be able to play 60 minutes. … We did it Saturday (in a 6-3 victory against defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis) and we saw the results.”
Jeff Petry scored the lone Montreal goal against Tampa Bay, assisted by Max Domi, who is tied for the team lead with six points (three goals, three assists). He shares the honor with Brendan Gallagher (two goals, four assists) and Jonathan Drouin (two goals, four assists), who had a season-opening, five-game point streak snapped Tuesday.
“For the first chunk of the first period, I thought we were executing, we were playing our game,” Petry said. “Towards the end of the first, we got away from it. … I think the breakdowns and not being sharp led them to taking the lead and we weren’t able to fight back.”
–Field Level Media
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