ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Wild center Luke Kunin returned to practice Wednesday. March 13, after missing two games with an upper-body injury and was declared ready to play Thursday’s game against the Dallas Stars at Xcel Energy Center.
“That’s the plan. I feel like I’m good to go, so we’ll see,” Kunin said afterward.
Coach Bruce Boudreau affirmed that Kunin would play against the Stars.
“He’s fine. He’s ready to play,” Boudreau said.
Kunin was injured last Thursday at Tampa. He had just released an outlet pass when Cedric Paquette nailed him with an open-ice check. Kunin struggled to get up and wobbled dazed toward the bench and into the arms of trainer John Worley.
Referees stopped play upon realizing how seriously hurt he was. Kunin went into the dressing room and did not return. He also did not play in Minnesota’s past two games, losses to Florida and San Jose.
“It was smart to take a couple days off, but I’m hungry to get back and help the team,” Kunin said.
Meanwhile, the Wild lost another forward to injury. Center Joel Eriksson Ek suffered a lower-body injury against the Sharks.
“He’ll be out for … I’m hoping no longer than a week,” Boudreau said. “He didn’t play the last six minutes (against San Jose). Whatever his ailment was he wasn’t playing feeling well.”
There was a glimpse of defenseman Matt Dumba, who has been out since Dec. 15 after having surgery to repair a torn pectoralis muscle. He skated by himself before practice, but his status remains indefinite.
“I didn’t even know he skated until five minutes ago,” Boudreau said. “Nothing’s changed with his timeline. He was just bored.”
Wednesday’s practice focused on the power play, which has been anemic of late. The unit is mired in an 0-for-18 slump after failing to score on three man advantages in Monday’s 3-0 loss to the Sharks.
The Wild have not scored on the power play since Feb. 26 in Winnipeg -- a seven-game span that dates to the trade deadline and the loss of center Mikael Granlund and the integration of newcomers Pontus Aberg and Kevin Fiala.
“When we get it set up and make some plays, we’re just not scoring,” Boudreau said. “What we’re not doing is getting second chances. So retrievals are vital in this game and winning the first faceoff is vital. That’s something we’ve been lacking lately.”