ST. PAUL, Minn. – Late in the second period of Tuesday night’s 5-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild, coach Gerard Gallant tried to shake things up by moving enforcer Ryan Reaves up onto the top line, on the right of Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad. Alexis Lafreniere was dropped down to the third line, with Filip Chytil and Barclay Goodrow, with Julien Gauthier – back in the lineup after being scratched on Sunday in Winnipeg – dropped to the fourth line.
"They were playing the matchup game with their big guys, and I wanted ‘Reavo’ to be on that side,’’ Gallant explained. "Laffy (Lafreniere) did nothing wrong. Laffy's played great, I'm real happy with him and I told him that. So it was just sort of the matchup for tonight and things will be back to normal.’’
The road trip continues Thursday in St. Louis before concluding Saturday in Dallas.
Rookie defenseman Braden Schneider, who is from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, but who played junior hockey in Brandon, Manitoba, got to be in the starting lineup Sunday when the Rangers played in Winnipeg, and the 20-year-old called getting the "super special.’’
"I wasn't expecting it,’’ Schneider said Tuesday. "I thought they would have definitely given it to Troubs (Jacob Trouba) because he had accomplished so much there. But yeah, it was super special. I had a lot of friends and family (at the game) that are from Brandon, and I guess that was our last Western Canadian game for the rest of the year.’’
On Tuesday, Gallant started all three Minnesotans on the team – defensemen Ryan Lindgren and K’Andre Miller, and forward Jonny Brodzinski, who started on the top line with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider.
Gallant went back to a more conventional 12 forwards and six defensemen Tuesday, after dressing 11 and seven in Sunday’s 4-1 win at Winnipeg. D Libor Hajek was scratched after playing Sunday for the first time in nine games, and F Morgan Barron was the other scratch. Julien Gauthier, who had been scratched Sunday to make room for Hajek, was back in the lineup… Ryan Strome played in his 600th game.