SUNRISE, Fla. -- After their big 2-0 victory over Boston on Sunday, the Minnesota Wild not surprisingly will be going almost with the same lineup Thursday night against the Florida Panthers.
The only change will be the return of forward Warren Peters, who sat out the Boston game because of a suspension. He will replace Jeff Taffe, who was reassigned to Houston after Sunday's game.
On defense, that means that rookie defenseman Justin Falk again will be scratched. Coach Mike Yeo, though, is quite to point out that's not an indictment on Falk's play.
"I think our defense has played well lately," he said after Thursday's morning skate. "Certainly I would not be afraid one bit of putting him back in the lineup soon here. It's tough to sit a guy like that for sure because I know that when he's playing well he can add something to our group, but having said that, with the exception of the St. Louis game I've been pleased with the way our defense has been playing."
One defenseman who stood out in the victory over Boston, which snapped a seven-game losing streak, was Marco Scandella.
He logged 22:09 of ice time and finished with a plus-1 rating.
"He's funny, his best games have been against the Boston Bruins or when he's going out against Taylor Hall," Yeo said. "He seems to get this matchup, this role in his head of, 'OK, I've got to be good tonight,' and he looks forward to that challenge. He seems to be more aggressive, more assertive and just plays really well in those situations. It's something that maybe we have to going forward give him a specific role or assign him a task for that game to give him something to focus on and let that play out that way."
The Wild again will be without captain Mikko Koivu against Florida. He has missed the last two games with an undisclosed injury and did not accompany the Wild on their two-game road trip.
Goalie Josh Harding also didn't make the trip. He was injured at practice Wednesday, but was set to make the trip anyway before he became ill. After an MRI came back negative, the plan was to have Harding join the team for Friday's game at Dallas, but he was still feeling sick on Thursday, so the plan was scrapped.
Here is Minnesota’s projected lineup:
Dany Heatley - Kyle Brodziak - Devin Setoguchi
Darroll Powe - Matt Cullen - Nick Johnson
Erik Christensen - Chad Rau - Cal Clutterbuck
Matt Kassian - Warren Peters - Jed Ortmeyer
Nick Schultz - Nate Prosser
Greg Zanon - Marek Zidlicky
Marco Scandella - Jared Spurgeon