ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo was unusually secretive about who will be in his lineup Saturday when his team faces off with the Columbus Blue Jackets in the final game of a critical three-game home stand.
"I'm not gonna talk about lineup this morning," Yeo said when asked about the status of injured center Matt Cullen, who skated with the team during the morning skate for the first time since sustaining a lower-body injury Apr. 1.
The same was said when he was asked about the status of injured defenseman Ryan Suter, who missed much of the game Thursday against the St. Louis Blues. Suter did not take part in the optional morning skate Saturday, neither did several other Wild veterans -- complicating matters when trying to project who is in and who is out for the Wild.
If Suter doesn't play, rookie Jonas Brodin is expected to switch to the left side, elevating Jared Spurgeon to the top-pairing on the right. That would move Tom Gilbert to Spurgeon's spot on the second pairing and would likely mean Nate Prosser would be in the lineup with Justin Falk.
Emery is coming off back-to-back wins against the Nashville Predators on Saturday and Sunday, and is 14-1-0 in 18 games this season.
"Based on how he's playing, it gives him the chance to get some consecutive games, as well. We'll see how he handles it," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said.
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- On the surface, the Minnesota Wild's penalty kill numbers don't look bad. For the season, the team has killed off 82.2 percent of chances against it, good for 11th best in the National Hockey League.
The three power-play goals allowed against the Stars amounted to the difference in the game -- a 5-3 loss that snapped the Wild's seven-game winning streak.
The Wild, playing some of their best hockey under second-year coach Mike Yeo, have won a franchise-best six straight games.
The Coyotes kick off a three-game road trip having lost six games in a row. Phoenix, which sat in sixth place in the West on March 14, one point out of fourth, has tumbled seven spots as a result of the skid and now sits four points back of the San Jose Sharks for the eighth and final spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Zucker, who was hit in the head by Anaheim Ducks forward Corey Perry on Tuesday, will accompany the Wild on its three-game road trip beginning this weekend against the Colorado Avalanche. Zucker skated for the second straight day Thursday and has reported no problems so far.
For the Avalanche, veteran Milan Hejduk will return to the lineup after missing five games with a stiff neck.
Here are the projected lineups for the game Thursday at Xcel Energy Center:
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The busy travel and game schedule of National Hockey League players typically means things like birthdays and holidays with friends and family are missed.
"There's a lot of times where when we come here or they come to California, it's a back-to-back game or you don't really have time to enjoy it, so it was fun," Saku said. "Obviously it's a big day for him, 30th birthday; just goes to show how time flies. It feels like he just came over here and now it's already 10 years."
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We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.