Wild reunite The GREEF Line ahead of stretch against NHL’s best
Joel Eriksson Ek is centering Jordan Greenway on his left and Marcus Foligno on his right.
ST. PAUL -- The next week will provide a good measuring stick for the Minnesota Wild as they face off against the best player in the world, Connor McDavid, and the Edmonton Oilers, the NHL’s leading goal-scorer Jason Robertson and the Dallas Stars, and offensive savant Jonathan Huberdeau and the Calgary Flames.
That’s exactly why Wild coach Dean Evason has decided to reunite the GREEF Line with Joel Eriksson Ek centering Jordan Greenway on his left and Marcus Foligno on his right.
Though the injury bug has kept them apart for much of this season, the trio is getting the band back together just in time for a stretch against some of the best players in the league.
“It seems like a perfect time for a shutdown line, eh?” Foligno said.
Maybe the biggest reason the Wild have struggled with consistency this season is because the GREEF Line hasn’t been together very often. In the past, whenever those three players were on their game they have been one of most effective lines in the league.
That proved to be the case last season; that line was the heartbeat of the team on most nights as the Wild amassed a franchise record 113 points.
“Do we take pride in that? Absolutely,” Greenway said. “I think having three bigger bodies and doing the same thing over the course of the game is kind of the way Deano likes to play.”
Indeed. Whenever he’s been asked this season about how the Wild need to play, Evason has hammered home the point that their grit paves the way for their skill. No combination of players embodies that more than the GREEF Line.
“We want to keep it on the offensive zone and really wear down the defense,” Foligno said. “Our goal is to play as much as we can in the offensive zone and be crucial down there. Then when we do get in our defensive zone, we like to be quick out and play physical and make it not fun to be down there.”
This has been a long time coming for the Wild. Greenway and Foligno have both missed time this season, and while Eriksson Ek has started to find his groove on his own, he’s looking forward to being back with his usual linemates.
“It’s exciting,” Eriksson Ek said. “I think we know what we’re capable of doing if we get it clicking.”
It shouldn’t take them long to rediscover their chemistry. That’s good news for the Wild considering Thursday’s game against the Oilers won’t offer much time for a feeling-out process.
“We need to play well for our team,” Foligno said. “Our team is best with everyone at 100%. We’ve got a lot of great role players, and having our line in there with the chemistry that we have can give more room and space to other lines.”
Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin missed Tuesday’s practice with a lower-body injury. He likely won’t play in Thursday’s game.
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