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."
Granlund, the Wild's first-round pick (No. 9) in the 2010 NHL Draft, is playing his first professional season in North America after starring in his native Finland the past three seasons. Adjusting to the speed and size of the ice sheet in the NHL has been an issue for Granlund, as well as playing against bigger and more physical competition.
The highly skilled center has played in 19 games this season, scoring one goal and assisting on five, but has been a healthy scratch each of the past two games and in four of Minnesota's last eight overall.
Injured: Taylor Hall (hamstring), Shawn Horcoff (hand), Teemu Hartikainen (shoulder), Anton Lander (foot), Andy Sutton (knee), Corey Potter (head), Mark Fistric (elbow), Nikolai Khabibulin (undisclosed)
Hall, who injured his hamstring Friday night against the St. Louis Blues, is officially listed as day-to-day, but with the Oilers in the midst of a nine-game, 16-day road trip, Krueger said he'd rather give Hall some extra time off in order to avoid a more long-term injury.
"Taylor is still feeling a strain that we want to err to the cautious side," Krueger said. "This type of injury, we can give him four days of rest as opposed to forcing him in today. He's day-to-day but we expect him back very soon."
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There's not much to say. We played like [garbage]. I think every guy in the room should be completely embarrassed about how they played tonight. Every single person. To start a road trip, one of the biggest road trips and have a division rival chasing you down and have a ton on the line, it's ridiculous how we played tonight.