Since the season started, the Wild has been playing on an every-other-night basis, a rhythm that will continue until this weekend when the team has its first back-to-back.
But on those days in between games, the Wild has usually opted to stay away from the rink and that's a trend that could stick around during this year's shortened schedule.
"There's no question that rest can certainly be a weapon," coach Dean Evason said.
The Wild has practiced just twice since Game No. 1, a session in Los Angeles on Jan. 15 after that opening-night win over the Kings, and the team gathered Saturday at home.
Ahead of each game, the team has hosted a skate in the morning. But Evason, who's "not a big believer" in these morning on-ice workouts, said the skates are optional and participation has varied.
Preparation philosophies are different among players and teams and although the Wild has a template in mind, it's still figuring out what works.
Once the team crosses the 10-game threshold, the coaching staff, management and captains plan to evaluate the data from the start of the season — looking at how the team started and performed in games and what the team did before and on the morning off those contests. The Wild hopes to use that insight to determine its schedule around games.
"Our bottom line to the group is when the puck's dropped, you play," Evason said. "Regardless if we fly the day, skate the day before, practice the day of, when the puck's dropped, we're ready to play."
Although this plan could give the Wild some consistent structure, Evason expects nothing will be set in stone during this 56-game season.
"It's day by day," Evason said. "If they get a text saying that we're going to practice, then we're going to practice. If they get a text it's video today, we'll have video. Our group's very flexible with that regard, and we think that'll help us down the road."
Nick Bjugstad put the puck in the net twice Sunday but scored only once.
Before his second-period deflection counted, Bjugstad had a goal disallowed after video review determined he pushed Sharks goalie Martin Jones' pad and that caused the puck to slide into the net.
"I knew I pushed the pads, but the puck was there," Bjugstad said. "There was no whistle. I guess if that's how they call it when I'm pushing his pads in there I understand, but the puck was in the net. I wanted to move it along like I did and hope for the best."
Bjugstad didn't have to wait long to stick on the score sheet, scoring just 9 minutes, 2 seconds later for his first goal with the Wild.
"I feel very fortunate to wear the Wild jersey and play for this team," Bjugstad said. "I do my best to continue to work hard and hopefully make more stuff like that happen."
Winger Nico Sturm returned to action Tuesday after missing the previous two games due to illness.
Sturm wasn't in the NHL's COVID protocols while he was sidelined.
Goalie Cam Talbot remained out with a lower-body injury he suffered Friday against San Jose, but he could rejoin the team on the ice soon.
"He's getting closer," Evason said.
Mikey Anderson has been a mainstay in the Kings lineup this season, appearing in all seven games. The 21-year-old defenseman, who spent one season at Hill-Murray and two at Minnesota Duluth, has been working on the team's top pairing next to Drew Doughty — this after Anderson played most of 2019-20 in the minors.
St. Cloud State alum Blake Lizotte also has a prominent role for Los Angeles, centering wingers Andreas Athanasiou and Jeff Carter on the Kings' second line.
As for Alex Iafallo, the former UMD standout, he skated in his 158th consecutive game on Tuesday.